Deal Breaker

If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met, what would it be? What would the right answer be?


 

We all have those relationship “deal breakers” that sometimes spring out of nowhere. Figuring out the facet of a potential friends personality is something that can save a lot of heartbreak early on.

As contrived as it sounds, I’d like to think that I can be friends with anyone, but we all know the truth for what it is. There are simply people out there who are so incompatible that being around them is torture. That sounds horrible, but it’s true.

My question would probably be somewhat basic, and while I do not know of the question I could always resort to, I do know it would be something along the lines of: What do you think of so-and-so? Whether ‘so-and-so’ references an object or a person, that question will often speak a lot about the person answering.

I have had too many friends trash talk people who didn’t deserve it, and it’s beginning to unnerve me how often it happens. The answer to that question could be my deal-breaker; because if you’re going to treat that person in a bad way behind their back, who is to say that the same will not be done to me?

~J. Spade

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This Is Me

You’re about to enter a room full of strangers, where you will have exactly four minutes to tell a story that would convey who you really are. What’s your story?


 

I, like I am sure many of you, am the type of person who flounders when the conversation switches to anything along the lines of ‘tell me about yourself’. In brief, every exciting moment of my life seems to vanish the second someone questions me about it. Years could pass by since I last saw a person, and the instant the question ‘what’s new with you’ comes into the conversation I would still undoubtedly respond with ‘nothing’.

Throw me in a room full of strangers where I am forced to tell my story in four minutes, and you might as well have thrown me to the proverbial wolves. I will choke. It’s my nature.

If I’m given time to prepare, the results might be a bit different. After some prep, the story I would weave in my four minute time span would be one of growth.

“I have never been known as a positive person,” I would say to the masses. A deep breath would follow, as I amped myself up for the rest of my speech. “In fact, more often than not, people choose to comment on my dark soul or heart. Friends have even called me an ice queen, because I have a tendency to shut people out with what seems like little to no regard. That’s not really me.”

My eyes would be cast to the side, unwilling to face the people I am about to bare my soul to. “In fact, telling you about me isn’t something I’m prone to do. I may not cry as freely as those around me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel. Maybe I’ve avoided talking to a friend a time or two, but that has nothing to do with a disinterest in them. It’s all a mechanism of fear. Hiding how I feel is my mode of operation; it’s how I’ve learned to survive. The thick skin I’ve created is a wall, because only I can decide who is let in.”

As I continue, my story would include snippets of who I was and how far I’ve come. It would hold anecdotes about how I’m still growing and learning every day. The end would be a reflection of the beginning, as I state: “And it’s only when a person begins to see those little things about me, that they realize I’m not as dark as they once thought.”

~J. Spade

 

Changing Seasons

Changing colors, dropping temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes: do these mainstays of Fall fill your heart with warmth — or with dread?


Seasons change. It is a fact of nature that we cannot escape, and while some people might dread some of the oncoming seasons more than those around them, there are always people who enjoy every little facet of the shifts in weather. Fall is popular, especially so in the Northwestern part of the United States.

As for my personal preference, I’m not really sure what it is; but I have come to the realization that I am either constantly changing or I happen to really love all seasons. It seems that each time a season ends I get a little sad, but I’m always so ecstatic for the oncoming season that I don’t dwell on it for too long.

Right now, I am really excited for the fall season to come around. Sweaters, boots, layers, and orange/brown hues of everything. It all sounds simply wonderful, and right now in my life I feel like that little bit of wonder can take away the pain of real life. I know that it won’t really, Fall is no magic cure, but in the moment I can pretend that it can mend all that is broken around me.

Hopefully, my moment of positive naivete can act as a healing balm to those that are ill in my life.

~J. Spade

Brevity Pulls

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” — Blaise Pascal
Where do you fall on the brevity/verbosity spectrum?


 

As I sit here and contemplate where I stand on the scale of brevity versus verbosity, it becomes quite obvious that I tend to be more on the verbose side of things. After all, I did just spend the last couple of hours creating an outline – that is right an outline – that ended up being 5,000 words. The outline was probably far too detailed, but I guess hopefully this way writer’s block will not be an issue.

There are times when I fall more towards brevity. If I do not wish to be talking, which sometimes is during verbal presentations, or if I’m tired or angry I tend to be more clipped with my words.

Whether it a person speaks or writes with brevity or verbosity, it does not make one better than the other. Sometimes brevity works and the same can be said for verbosity. The real talent is finding out which works under the situation. If you can combine the right amount of brevity and verbosity into a story then you will have a true impact. After all, it’s the difference between show and tell in a creative environment.

~J. Spade.

It Just Takes Ten Minutes

Dear Reader,

You’re sick, and that’s okay. It’s okay that smiles don’t come easy, and that half the time all you want to do is disappear. All of that is okay because you are human and you are young.

It is not okay for you to give up. Promise me that you will never give up.

Don’t let a world that is so big get you down over something that is so small. There is more to life than failures, and you will have many failures. Think of all the people you have touched in one way or another. The good and the bad, your life has influenced those around you.

You are an impact. Powerful, with a force unseen by many, you can help people. Don’t fake a smile if it doesn’t feel good. Say no when something just doesn’t suit your fancy. All you need to do in life is be true to yourself. No one can ask for more than that, and nobody should be asking for less.

Sometimes it might feel like the end is near. And maybe it is, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop living your life just because you don’t have anywhere else to go. You are much stronger than you think you are, and you have people who love you unconditionally.

Maybe the harsh realities of the world are too much to bear sometimes, and you can hide from the world for a few days. Just don’t let it rule you, do not let your fears control your actions. Come out of hiding for a day or two at a time, just enough to let the world know that you’re still fighting.

I, too, know what it is like to feel like you’re waging a battle against yourself. I know the struggles that come with the pain inflicted on your skin, and the scars that are left behind. Scars fade, memories fade, but the strength of your soul does not. Keep your heart beating by doing what you love. Do not settle for anything less than what you deserve.

There are going to be times when you hate your parents. That moment when your mom reads your journal and finds out just how much you want to die might seem like a gross invasion of privacy, and maybe it is. But a small part of you will know that you left it out for her to read on purpose. The tears she shed over your unseen wounds might make you feel just a little more loved than you had felt that morning, and it will mark a turning point for you. Cause even though you get horribly frustrated with both your mother and father because they just do not understand, you also love them because they stand by you even though they cannot know of the demons you are facing.

I can promise you that you will make it through this, but I cannot promise you that it will ever completely go away.

Always try to remember that you are strong, you are brave, and you are beautiful.

But most importantly, I want you to remember that you are me and we are one.

~J. Spade

Reading the Situation

Are you a good judge of other people’s happiness? Tell us about a time you were spot on despite external hints to the contrary (or, alternatively, about a time you were dead wrong).


 

Being able to read people is simultaneously a blessing and a curse. There are people you want to read in order to help them out and lend an ear if they so need, then there are some people you really don’t want to read or who don’t want to be read; this can lead to some unsavory feelings if not dealt with properly.

The gift found in being able to read people is that you are able to tell when another person is happy, and if your an emphatic then that happiness could in turn be your happiness. A person can be so happy that a dreary environment will not even intrude upon their good feeling, that is the wholesome feeling of rightness that we all strive for. Some are successful, many are not.

There was a time when I was hanging out with a group of friends that I can clearly recall being able to read people a little too well. It was one of my friends birthday’s, and I could tell that she was not having a good time. It was her 21st birthday, and while many choose to go out to a bar and drink on their 21st that is not everyone’s cup of tea. My friend fell into the latter category, but some of our other friends simply told her “you don’t know what you’re talking about” and tacked on the ever helpful “you’ll have a blast”.

It turns out that no, she did not have a blast. She drank a few drinks that she really didn’t want to, and we stayed out much later than she had deigned necessary. But she was the birthday girl, fresh to the bar scene, and our other friends were either too focused on their own inebriation that they didn’t notice her miserable countenance or they were having too much fun to care.

That was the moment I felt my inner self being torn in two different directions. One of those direction reached out to the birthday girl, who clearly would have preferred to celebrate her birthday in a different fashion. The other direction went out to those of my friends that were undeniably having a good time. Being able to read people and situations means that you often have to pick sides, and while it might be an unfortunate feeling for you, you’re going to find that you can be the savior too many under certain circumstances.

In that instance, I choose to help out the miserable party; because it was her birthday and no one should feel miserable on their birthday.

~J. Spade

Stumped

When was the last time you were completely stumped by a question, a request, or a situation you found yourself in? How did you handle it?


Life is full of challenges
Some you can face head on
Others you have to decipher
In order to stay strong

There will be a time that you
Don’t know know your way
It will take a lot of thought
You’ll ask yourself questions

When you find yourself stuck
And you think you might come undone
Take a breath in through your gut
It’s good to give yourself some time
~J. Spade

Object Personality

Machines, appliances, and gadgets sometimes feel like they have their own personalities — from quirky cars to dignified food processors. What’s the most “human” machine you own?


In this day and age, gadgets are becoming more and more advanced. It’s no surprise that they even can take on personalities of their own. The iProducts have Siri, a computer that you can ask questions and receive answers from. Androids have “Okay Google”, which offers the same features, and a lot of other products have jumped on that band wagon. No longer are these gadgets things that we solely operate, they can do some of the operations for us.

Despite knowing all of this, the most “human” machine that I own does not have a voice. It has a name, and it can tell me a lot of things, but it does so with a series of beeps and a notification screen. My “human” machine happens to be my car. I’ve named my car Jim, for various reasons that I might state on a later occasion.

I bought this car over a year ago, and in that year I’ve built up a personality for my car unlike anything I have experienced before. Jim has become a part of my family, as weird as that might sound. He gets me from Point A to Point B without issue, and for that I can’t help but to be appreciative. My previous car had trouble doing that.

So while there are numerous objects that I own that do actually have a personality, the most “human” machine I own is known as such not for the qualities that it possesses, but for the attributes I have given it.

Being human is more than just how smart something is, it also has to deal with the feelings equated with it. The more we become attached to the machines, appliances, and gadgets in our lives, the more real the will become in our hearts.

~J. Spade

Tina Fey

Your blog is about to be recorded into an audiobook. If you could choose anyone — from your grandma to Samuel L. Jackson — to narrate your posts, who would it be?


There are so many amazing choices out there for voice work, and I would be beside myself if I hadn’t of thought long and hard about this question at some point in my life. The person I would chose to narrate my posts would have to be Tina Fey.

After listening to her audiobook and being a huge fan of hers for many years, I have to admit that I think she would be a perfect choice. She does well with both subtle and overt humor, and she happens to be a great writer on top of all that. While it would be awesome to say Morgan Freeman narrates my blog, or anyone else known for their amazing voice-overs, I have to stick with Tiny Fey.

~J. Spade

Secondhand

Clothes and toys, recipes and jokes, advice and prejudice: we all have to handle all sorts of hand-me-downs every day. Tell us about some of the meaningful hand-me-downs in your life.


As the youngest child I spent a lot of my time dealing with hand-me-downs. Toys, books, clothes, and even sports seemed to belong to someone else before it came to me. At the time it really annoyed me. I was the only girl amongst my parents children, it didn’t make sense to me how my mother kept happening across used clothing for girls that were conveniently in my size. Of course, I had plenty of older cousins that helped out with her endeavor to keep me clothed in articles that were well past the point of worn.

Being as young as I was I just didn’t understand. Why did my brothers receive new things when I never did? Was it because my parents loved them more than me? Questions filled my brain and stuck in my mind, making me more confused than I had any right to be. Then one day all of that washed away. All pieces of hand-me-downs that were given to me were not merely objects that had previous owners, they had been cared for and loved in such a way that shouldn’t be looked down upon. The objects had lived, had stories of their own. That was beautiful, that was new, and the fact that I could create my own stories to go right along with the previous ones was an incredible feeling.

Once I had realized that, I ended up being happy with the things that I had. I was able to appreciate the value of them, and even to this day I still admire the quality of life found in hand-me-downs. That’s part of the reason I donate the stuff that I have outgrown, because maybe, just maybe, someone will have a place for that material in their own life.

 

~J. Spade