V is for Viewpoints

Yes, my dad and I are still at this process. It’s been over a year, but we plan on finishing!

V is for, obviously, viewpoints. When I first got the idea of this in my head, it was focused solely around perspective. But for some reason, I can’t get the picture of a lighthouse out of my head. So here we go.

Let’s talk about lighthouses! 🙂

There’s something about the image of a lighthouse that stands out. While it has become overdone by cheesy looking calendars and greeting cards for whatever occasion, there is something relentlessly striking about the sight of a structure, so old and seemingly obsolete. But they once served as a great, tall-standing beacon of hope to those lost at sea.

Let’s think about this for a moment — can you even begin to imagine the hopelessness of being lost at sea? Everything looking the same. The once peaceful rocking motion has become a mocking device to remind you that it very well may be the last feeling you have. And then, suddenly, a light from the distance, circling above and through the vast despondency of the crashing waves. And suddenly, all hope is restored. There is, indeed, a light calling you home. And it can be said that the sturdiness of solid ground would probably never feel as sweet.

While this is obviously a metaphor (none of you have ever been legitimately lost at sea, have you? I sincerely hope not.) there are ways in which our own lives can be reflected in the glassy pool of the sailor’s sea.

There come these moments in our lives where life happens to us in ways we never thought could happen to us. In these moments of impact, it can be easy for perspectives to be thoroughly lost. At sea. Yes. When life catches up to us, we often can end up feeling like all that is left for us is miles and miles of hopelessness, and our view on our life situations zone in so much on the moment that we neglect to see the impact. It is then that we must search more than ever for our own respective lighthouses.

Our lighthouses, whether a person or an activity, a spiritual being or a personal awakening, are strong and tall. Shining their lights out faithfully, simply waiting for you to grab on and swim with all of your might to your safety. We musn’t let ourselves be drug under water to the point where we refuse to see the truth that life goes on. There is a lighthouse, sturdy and strong, waiting at the shore of every moment of impact, whether it be minor or major. What we need to do is fight the urge to focus our views solely on the problems at hand, and to instead send a faithful glance ahead, trusting that our views will fall on the bright lights of our futures.

Thank you to all those who have been faithful with these posts from the very beginning.

With love, Kyra

View my Dad’s V post here.

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U is for Utopia

I am currently blogging, along with my dad, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started and get the rules here.

For anyone who may not know, utopia is an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect. Now that you know what it is, I’m sure that you all have experienced wishing for utopia or creating your own personal utopia in your mind. Perhaps you’re familiar with the thoughts “it would just be so wonderful if this or that was different,” or “wow, everything is so perfect right now, if only it could stay like that forever.”

Everyone has a place of utopia in their mind — this is called their happy place. I know that my happy place is most often accessed when I go to the dentist, because the dentist freaks me out and I like to pretend I am somewhere else — my utopia. It isn’t a bad thing to have something like this, however there is a point along the line where a person’s utopia becomes dangerous. Someone who wishes to make their utopia real can sometimes fall into a state of perfectionism. Perfectionism is a dangerous quality in a person when it crosses the line. I know of a lot of people who strive so hard for perfectionism that they are constantly in a state where they a beating themselves up mentally and emotionally for their inability to become something that they can never be.

The thing we need to grow to realize about our utopias is that we live in an imperfect world. If we begin buying into the idealism of utopia, we can fall into a dangerous trap where our own worlds can never manage to measure up. The sad thing about this is that we become blind to the reality of the goodness right in front of us.

We need to open our eyes to the imperfections that make us unique. You know, clichés become clichés because they apply to situations often, so I’ll use one here. If everyone were to have it all and live a perfect life, then who would be special? Why would we need to appreciate the things that we have going for us.

The sad part is, people who are stuck in their perfectionism cannot see the fact that they have so much to offer the world. We all need to step back and take a look at ourselves with the same accepting eyes we offer to our close friends when they mess up.

You see, utopia’s are a great thing to have at the dentist’s office. But living in one and making it become your reality can be a dangerous thing. I challenge you to take a step back and see if you’re struggling in perfectionism. What’s stopping you from feeling happy very well might be your own ideas of what “should” and “shouldn’t” be.

View my dad’s “U” post here.

P.S. Smile 🙂 It goes a long way.

T is for Today

I am (STILL!) blogging, along with my dad, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started and get the rules here.

When I first started this (longer than expected) process, all the way back in November, there were only a few posts that I was absolutely certain about. Over seven months later, before sitting down to write this post, I honestly believed that my T post would be written about tomorrows. Something along the lines of “things may be bad today, but there is always the gift of tomorrow.” However, as I was writing the post in my head I realized that there is a chance that tomorrow your world can completely change. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, and today is the real gift.

For such a long time I was focused on tomorrows. How much better I could make my tomorrows. This idea was especially enticing during my personal pity parties when I was having a bad day and didn’t feel like doing anything about it. However, I think it is crucial to emphasize the fact that your today is what you make of it. And that it will never be tomorrow, really; for you cannot live in the past nor can you live in the future. It will always be today. So you might as well get started on making your today worthwhile. Today is all you have.

So how do we do this? The same way we should accomplish anything. We can do this by a process which my dad calls “finding, facing, and following the truth.” Finding the truth is being shown something. Voila, I’ve already laid that out for you. Facing the truth is when you acknowledge that this knowledge is real and it affects your life. Following the truth is when you do something about it. So lets do something.

Tomorrows can turn into an excuse. Not just for putting off chores, but also for putting off happiness. For example, put yourself in the place of having a rough morning. I’m sure you can relate. You slept through your alarm, showed up late to work or school, and realize that you forgot something that was due today. The easy thing to do is throw a nice pity party where you can mope for the rest of the day about your bad morning. You can say “ho hum, I guess I’ll try to make tomorrow better.” But if you’re going to make tomorrow better, why can’t you start right now? Do something to better your day right now. Make today worthwhile. It may be difficult sometimes, but it is far more rewarding. After all, today is what you get, and today is what you make it.

Tomorrows are dreadfully important, for they give us something to look forward to. However, don’t ever let yourself make the mistake of wasting all of your todays by being blinded by the brilliance of a tomorrow that will never arrive.

View my dad’s “T” post here.

S is for Seeing

I am currently blogging, along with my dad, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started and get the rules here.

Seeing through the eyes of a child. An interesting concept that I never thought I would cover, seeing as how many may still consider me a child myself. But really, how many people have ever watched a young child interact with the world? It is probably one of the most fascinating things ever. Children have a way of seeing the world with intense clarity, which they are capable of having because childhood is so often the time when the world has not spoiled the innocence of a soul, at least for a while. In fact, the way that children interact with the world is so far from the way that adults do that watching children is even slightly comedic at times.

Children are so “brutally” honest. If you’ve ever taken a toddler to a grocery store, I am certain you know what I am talking about. From asking pregnant women why they are fat to asking African-Americans “why is your skin so dark?” children are not intimidated by the truth. They tell it like it is, because the “importance” of what other people think has not yet been drilled into their perfect little minds.

They have this way of putting us in awe by defining complex concepts in the simplest of words. For example “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.” Not the best example, but probably the most relate-able. This huge concept of God’s eternal love for us is one that so many people doubt once they know what doubt is, but to many children this idea is simple and easy.

I suggest that we learn from children. We spend years teaching little kids this and that, but the simple idea of letting them teach us is so often overlooked. After all, Jesus himself said “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 18:4). And  why is that? Because children are innocent, truthful, and humble. Try to think of what the world would look like if it wasn’t only children who acted this way? If there was an end to deceit and boastfulness. Now you tell me, what would be so wrong with that?

We need to step back from our busy lives and see things differently. To splash joyously in the puddles and enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed. The way we used to before the world broke us. The way that children do.

View my dad’s “S” post here.

R is for Relationships

I am currently blogging, along with my dad, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started and get the rules here.

“Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” “The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” “He won’t buy it if you’re giving it away for free.” “It’s not you, it’s me.” “This is all happening too fast.” “I think we just need a little break.” “Let’s just be friends.” Alas, the fabulously overused relationship clichés.

“Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” This one, I find hilarious. Hilarious. Said by Dorothy Parker years ago and no longer relevant, I added it only for the fact that it rhymed and made me laugh. I figured it was a great way to catch your attention! 🙂

I want to focus on my personal favorite relationship cliché – “boys and girls can’t just be friends.” Hah! I seriously laugh out loud whenever I hear or read about someone saying this. Do you believe it is true? Because I completely do not. Many of my friends are guys, simply because I don’t get along with females as well because I am not amused with the dramatics of the female population, and the girl friends I do have generally tend to feel the same way.

I would like you to participate in a little activity for me. Think of all of the friends you have that are not of the same gender as you. Got it? Okay, of those friends how many have you fallen head over heels for? If you’re being realistic, I’m sure it isn’t a majority of them.

So where does this cliché come from? Well, if Hollywood has taught us anything, it probably started with the heartbroken girl crying on her bed because the best male friend (whom the lead girl was in love with) fell in love with some attractive blond model, while her overly wise girl friend consoles her with chocolate, “men stink” speeches, and the very clever “this is why girls and boys can never be just friends” line. Of course it makes sense in Hollywood, because in the fake worlds created, the lead (a male in this case) always has only one or two female friends, and a hundred male friends who advise him to choose girl A, even though everyone watching knows that the lead is best friends with girl B and girl B is completely in love with the lead so of course by the end the lead will have broken her heart, then chased her across the country to find her because he realized he was really in love with her, he just didn’t realize it because he was too fixed on the best friend status, and they will be in love.

So the cliché was born. Ta da!

View my dad’s “R” post here.

-11/30/10-

To the Graduates

Congrats Class of 2011. You deserve it! A poem for you from me, because I am neat like that.

Late nights and frustrated tears

Fallen upon the floor

Swamped with papers proving your fears

That the world is so much more.

Suddenly the future is calling your name

Pulling you this way and that.

With anxiety and only yourself to blame,

You joyously don your weird square-shaped hat.

Who knows what the future will bring with it

After the confetti clears.

Walk across the stage like a hero tonight,

And smile through your tears.

-I love you all-

-Kyra

Being a Blogger

Geez. It really has been a very long time. An update for all of my lovely readers who have stuck with me, my dad and I still plan on finishing our A-Z posts. Things have been crazy hectic for me, though I know that it isn’t really an excuse for giving up on a goal and a challenge. In fact, my R post has been written for four months and five days, I just haven’t gotten around to post it. I can assure you that we will be back and ready to finish what we started very soon.

It has been so long, I’ve almost forgotten how scared I get when I’m writing one of these things. It’s not even something I can explain. But I’m going to try for you all today, to give you some insight on what it is like to be a blogger.

My thoughts to me have always been a very personal thing. Of course, this would make sense, because thoughts are… you know… personal 🙂 I guess the biggest difference between me and those people I admire for saying exactly what they’re thinking is just that — they can say exactly what they’re thinking! And I have a lot of respect for that. (Don’t get me wrong, if you were to walk up to me tomorrow in school and tell me that everyone hates my guitar playing skills, I would not respect that, not only because there is a difference between saying what is on your mind and being rude, but also because I do not play the guitar.)

But I have a respect for people who can say what they think because they seem to live more authentic lives. The people who can say what they think and be respectful about it generally take life by the horns and make the most out of it. Sounds great, I know.

So why is it that my whole life, I have struggled with expressing how I feel about things? Well, there are probably several different reasons.

Some times, I don’t even know how I feel about things! I am the worst decision maker ever. This can also be attributed to the fact that I hate making decisions that will counteract a previously made decision, such as me saying I want to go para-sailing after Lucinda said she wants to wrestle alligators.

But I believe that the biggest factor to my insecurity with sharing my  thoughts and opinions is a huge fear that someone will count my opinion as “wrong” or “stupid.” This is because, as previously mentioned, many things don’t evoke strong opinions out of me. This is good in the sense that many times, I can just go with the flow. However this can be bad because when I do care about something, I care strongly about it. I take my time thinking about events or ideas, so that I can really get down to how I feel about it and why it is important to me. Therefore when someone trashes one of my ideas, it is like they are tearing down who I am and what I represent. Yeah!

You guys, blogging is allllll about taking thoughts and feelings and putting them out there for the world to see. When a blogger posts a blog, he or she is basically saying “okay, here I am! You are now free to judge me as you please,” and that is scary for me, and I’m sure it is scary for many other people too.

Also, blogging is difficult! Apparently, I’m a gifted writer. That seems to be the feedback I get from peers, teachers, family, supporters of my blog, and so on. This is a weird thing for me to process! Writing comes natural to me. These “great posts” you read and give such high praise to are basically me writing down exactly how I think. What you read is how I think and feel, all the time. Henceforth, it is difficult to pick and choose what to talk about and what not to talk about.

I was talking about this with my dad about a week before we came up with the Blogging A-Z idea. He was asking me why I don’t blog very often and I responded with “because I don’t have anything to write about!” If I remember correctly, my dad responded “good grief Kee, your MIND is a blog. Just pick a topic and write about it. It doesn’t have to be something you find amazing, because it will just turn out amazing.” He said “your problem with writing is that it comes natural to you, so you don’t think its special.” (Pick a topic and write on it, by the way, is how Blogging A-Z was born.) He was probably right. He generally is 🙂

So blogging is difficult. Anyone who likes to write though, I strongly recommend that you try it. Not only will you develop better writing and communication skills, but you just might find another side of yourself that you were never able to see before. It is a challenge, and there is nothing wrong with trying and not succeeding. You only fail when you quit trying.

I don’t want to quit trying guys 🙂 This is my homecoming. I’ll be back, very soon. Some of the lessons I learned this winter I believe will come into play to make a better writer out of me. I seriously can hardly wait to pick up where I left off with A-Z. I promise you all, I have a lot to write about 🙂

Lots of Love

-Kyra-

 

Q is for Q

I am currently blogging, along with my dad, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started and get the rules here.

Yes, I’m serious.

What is it with the letter q? Honestly? Why is it that when the alphabet was made, it was made with a letter completely dependent on another letter? I looked through the dictionary. There are absolutely no q words without qu.

Everyone is a q. We all have something that we depend on, something we are very uncomfortable if we have to live without. They’re also called crutches by some people. So the question is, what is that thing? Finding out the things that we are dependent on can be very important because we realize what’s holding us back from being completely free.

I know what my biggest one is. It would be putting up walls. I’m not the biggest fan of admitting it, because admitting it in itself ruins the purpose of having them! But yes, that is the thing that I become very uncomfortable if I am left without it. These walls are fabulously constructed. A decade of working on them. Made of brick, painted brilliantly to dazzle anyone who happens to glance at them. And when someone gets through that wall without me allowing them to I become very uncomfortable. Reflexively, I want them out. I put up even more of a guard than I had in the first place. Sending in the troops to fight off the intruder.

That’s how I see myself. Kyra and her walls. Q and its u. And because I can admit this to myself, it is now my choice as to whether or not I continue to use them. I now have power over that. Maybe in my future I can release that, and there can finally be a just me. Not me and my walls, but just me. Wouldn’t that be fabulous? I think it would be.

It’s hard to confront our weaknesses, because in doing so we must admit that we have them. And that’s no fun, now is it? It’s far more fun to pretend that we are Super(wo)man with no kryptonite. We can tell this to ourselves all we want, but we’re only fooling ourselves. Living in falsehood.

Everyone has a “u”. That’s okay! It’s how we are. If we can address this and use our knowledge of it to work against it. Because unlike q, we don’t need a u. We were created to stand on our own as strong, independent individuals. We are all “q”s. The question we now must address is “what is my “U”?”

View my dad’s “Q” post here.

P is for Perseverance

I am currently blogging, along with my dad, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started and get the rules here.

It’s a topic many of us were forced to write compare and contrast essays on when we were in elementary school and were practicing for the MEAP. It always said we could “write about something that you had to persevere through”. At the time I could never think of something I had persevered through, so my essay was always about made up characters. Now if my teacher would assign me an essay on something I had to persevere through, I could write them fifty pages (double spaced, of course).

It’s interesting for me to think of how much I’ve persevered through this year. It’s been quite the year. I survived my freshman year of high school. I survived two drama club plays, countless choir and orchestra concerts, having my heart broken and getting over it, falling into and pulling out of a depression, and two years of band camp and marching band. A month from this Wednesday marks a year since I first got incredibly sick (and I finally got a diagnosis last Monday, hooray!) Through all of those things I had to fight to keep myself above water and not let myself drown in negativity. I had to persevere.

And this is another thing that I’m planning on persevering through, though I’ve already not been able to write something every day. I lost motivation a while ago, and I feel like I have nothing important left to say. I want to give up this entire “A-Z Blogging” thing very badly, however I refuse to. I refuse to because I don’t want to disappoint people. But mostly, I don’t want to disappoint myself. This thing that I’m doing  is hard. It’s not easy, it’s not fun. It’s frustrating, it’s obnoxious, it’s stressful, it’s challenging, it’s something I do that I do not look forward to at all. When I started, I had so much motivation to keep going. I’d get 8-12 comments on every single post, up to 75 people reading every day. Around “E” stats started dropping and I stopped receiving comments. I no longer had that push from other people to keep going, to persevere. I kept going because I didn’t want to let my dad down. Now I’m on P and I very much want to be done with it all and just mark it off as something I tried. “Oh well, neat experience Kyra, but it just didn’t work out.”

But I’m so far into this experience that I can’t get out of it anymore. I probably could have quit around “E” if I really felt the desire to. Now here I am wanting to quit and I can’t, because I know how disappointed in myself I will be. I don’t care anymore that other people would be upset. I’m not doing this for other people. I am doing this for me. It’s one thing I’m finally doing for myself. And I’m going all the way. And when I get to the end and write my final post, I’m not expecting to feel like I just won a marathon, I’m not expecting to feel like I just accomplished something amazing or great. I just hope that when I post my last A-Z post, I’ll hear that small voice in the back of my head whisper “Good job Kyra.”

View my dad’s “P” post.

O is for Over

I am currently blogging, along with my dad, all the way through the alphabet. Check out how the idea started and get the rules here.

Over worked. Over stressed. Over dramatic. Over analyze. Over explanatory. Over easy. Over tired. Over done. Over dressed. Over the top.

“Over” happens for a multitude of reasons. Over worked: because you haven’t managed time properly and set priorities. Over stressed: because you haven’t learned when to say no and when to let enough be enough. Over analyzed: when our “highly trained, complex” brains can’t let us believe that not everything needs to be incredibly complicated. Over explanatory: when someone tries to make excuses for something, or when someone can’t stop and let someone figure things out on their own. Over easy: because that’s how some people like their eggs. Over tired: because someone doesn’t realize just how important and valuable sleep is, and tries to shove other things in its spot, or when someone doesn’t put sleep as a priority. Over done: when someone strives for better until they ruin what was already good. Over dressed: when someone didn’t get the memo that it was a casual event, or when someone feels the need to draw attention away from the person and onto the clothes he or she is wearing.

Over dramatic is one of the more “blog-able” categories for me. It is seen so many places and in so many situations. I strongly dislike drama, however when I was in middle school I was constantly surrounded by it and since then I have made it a goal to try to find out why people feel the need to be so dramatic. So far I have come up with several theories. One: because someone has been deprived of love and attention and now feels like the only way anyone will ever notice them is by being over-dramatic. Two: because that’s how their parents were so that’s how they learned to be. Three: because they believe in themselves and their abilities and their specialness so little that they are constantly trying to make up for their lack of “interesting-ness” by drawing more and more attention to themselves. They are positive that they can’t entertain people with their “boring” selves, so they create a new, over the top self to compensate.

They then live in a world of nearly constant unhappiness. Because when you hear someone being dramatic, it is very rarely over something good that happened. A lot of small things go wrong in day-to-day life, it’s to be expected. There’s no such thing as a perfect day. But over dramatic people sweat the small stuff. When one of these small bad things happen, they let it totally ruin their day. It becomes so much worse than it needs to and they become very upset about it. And since these little things happen every day, they are constantly putting themselves into a mindset where they will be upset almost all of the time. That doesn’t seem like the best way to live.

There’s such thing as just enough. Just enough work to keep you busy, just enough stress to keep you on your toes, just enough analyzing to get the right answer, just the right explanation to help you understand, just the right amount of tired to make you grateful for sleep, just enough bad to make you appreciate the good.

Over worked. Over stressed. Over dramatic. Over analyzed. Over explanatory. Over easy. Over tired. Over done. Over dressed. Over the top. I’m so over it.

View my dad’s “O” post here.