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

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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

Beholding Beauty

We’ve all heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do you agree? is all beauty contingent on a subjective point of view?


 

Beauty can come in many different shapes, forms, colors, and sizes. The most piquant aesthetic of beauty is that it is not limited or confined. It can be a million different things or it can be one thing; but all in all it is something that draws the heart and eye.

It is because beauty is so variant that is said to be ‘in the eye of the beholder’. There is definitely a lot of truth to the phrase. What one person finds beautiful another may not.

Jealousy is an emotion that can twist beauty into something untrue. If, per say, a person was jealous of another person for being more beautiful than he or she, then they would not perceive the former person to be beautiful. Though jealousy is a very powerful stimulant in terms of beauty, it is not necessarily the only one. Just because one person doesn’t find something to be physically compelling does not mean they are jealous of it, it just means it does not hit their particular fancy.

Nature versus nurture can be called into question in terms of beauty, as it can with many subjects. The environment a person grew up in might make them see certain things as more beautiful than others, and the genetics they hold might also influence their feelings.

Beauty is profound because undeniably there is not one thing on this planet that someone somewhere does not find beautiful.

~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

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

Royalty

A second #RoyalBaby will soon be joining the Windsors in England. Given the choice, would you rather be heir to the throne, or the (probably) off-the-hook sibling?


 

Royalty comes at a price, and being the heir to the throne puts that much more at stake. At some point or another I am sure that we have all dreamed of what it would be like to be royalty, but it’s very rare to put thought into how different we would be if this were the case.

If I was royalty of any kind, I believe that I would rather be the off-the-hook sibling. I’ve always had a strange fascination with Victorian and Renaissance books that depict the life of royalty, and I have to say the heir never seems all that thrilled. It is the sibling who is essentially unimportant that gets the carefree attitude.

While it is fun to imagine being Queen or King, I would much rather live my life as a princess or a duchess. That way I can still do most of the stuff that I wanted to do without being nagged constantly.

~J. Spade

The One

You’re sitting at a café when a stranger approaches you. This person asks what your name is, and, for some reason, you reply. The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.” What happens next?


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To The Grave

Keeping a secret, while difficult, is not impossible. Secrets are small glimpses into another person’s soul; they happen because you were trusted by that person to help keep a piece of her or him unseen. It’s an act of trust between two or more people, and spilling the so called beans can essentially mean breaking that trust. Reality is harsh, but if you fail to keep a secret that is that big then you might has well have literally thrown your friend under the bus rather than figuratively. The key here is keep your lips sealed to the best of your ability.

As with anything, there are plenty of tips that can help keep a secret remain just that. Some of those tips include:

  • Putting yourself in his or her shoes. Think how you would feel if it was your secret being shared. You wouldn’t want to tell just anyone your secret, so you shouldn’t tell just anyone their secret.
  • Listen to them. Chances are they mentioned at least once that you “can’t tell anyone”. Anyone means anyone. Even if it is someone who doesn’t know them you still shouldn’t let their secret slip. Telling a person who doesn’t know the person is just as bad as telling someone who does know them. It’s a gateway slip, it will undoubtedly lead to future slips. So just don’t do it.
  • Secrets can be soul burdens. If you’re finding a mighty need to tell the secret just to ease the pressure of your soul write it down. Use code-names of course so that if someone happened across it all parties involved would still remain intact. Writing it down is similar to sharing the secret with someone without all the horrible backlash that could result in a loss of friends.
  • Know your limits. There are some people who just can’t keep secrets. If you are one of those people, speak up before the secret is spilled. That way if for some unfortunate reason you were to let it slip later on, then it will not be entirely your fault. You gave fair warning, and they still decided to share their secrets.
  • Understand the difference between secrets that should be kept and secrets that shouldn’t. Sometimes there are people out there who give you a secret that can be harmful: to themselves or to others. If you happen to come across such a secret you will have a lot to contemplate. First you will need to know who you can turn to with this secret, because harmful secrets aren’t always best left swept under the rug.

Those, of course, are just a few of the essential guidelines to follow. There is more to it than that, but knowing the basics helps to lay the groundwork for future tight lips.

~J. Spade

Growing Up

Getting older means that you take on more and more responsibilities; you have to care for yourself and for others. If you’ve ever spent any time as a designated driver (DD) then you know that it is akin to parenting or babysitting. There is something wholly uncouth about being the only sober person amidst a mass of drunkards; especially when you’re in a fairly large city.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and I am glad I could be there for them on their big day and help out; but holy crap can drunks be difficult to handle. Mainly when there is a large group of them. There is nothing more taxing than a group of eight or more drunks each getting ideas in their head, because as the DD you are bound to be pulled in a million different directions trying to wrangle up the lush’s.

Of course, there are different levels to each person. One person might be content to follow you around all night because they “love you sooo much”, whereas another might just want to go make out with someone and you’ll be damned lucky if they mention anything of the sort to you. So not only do you have to search out your friends in the dark, but you have to look for shadows of themselves behind the silhouette of the partner they have chosen. It can get somewhat awkward out on the dance floor, because more than half of the people out there are sucking face and you’ll be lucky if you can see your friend at all.

As a DD you’re not there to snub out their fun, you’re simply there to give them a safe ride home. But shit, is it hard to make sure they get home safe when they’ve all scattered like a bunch of flies at a barbeque.

You’re bound to hear the same story at least ten times, with spastic embellishments that can only make sense to those with inebriated brains. You’re going to get annoyed, your feet will hurt, and the music and smells might just give you a headache. The selling point would have to be the fact that you’ll probably spend more money than you had planned on by buying your friends birthday drinks, and sadly none of those drinks were even for you. It can be frustrating, but hopefully the drunk birthday girl or guy is kind enough to drunkenly declare how grateful they are that you did this for them.

A few tips for surviving a night as a DD would be:

  • Set your guidelines early in the night when they’re still coherent enough to understand them.
  • Don’t plan to leave the bars early. Chances are they are going to want to close it out, and if you had planned to go home early your annoyance level will be through the roof.
  • Be firm, but understanding. They’re drunk and you are not. Don’t be a pushover, but don’t be a party pooper either.
  • Have fun. Yeah, you’re surrounded by a bunch of drunk, horny fools, but that doesn’t mean you have to be angry about it. Laugh, enjoy the embarrassing shenanigans that everyone is partaking in.

And most importantly:

  • Take detailed notes. It’s all going to be worth it when you’re reacquainting your friends with all of their drunken shenanigans.

 

 

Yours Truly

~Johana Spade