To Read Or Not To Read

What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell?


Throughout my past two months of blogging, I am pretty sure I have made it clear that I love reading. And if I haven’t, let me just state right now that I love to read.

Now that that’s out of the way, I feel that it is imperative to inform everyone that I don’t always read books. I suppose that could be counted as a dry spell from books, but not a dry spell from reading.

If I don’t have my nose stuck in a book it is because I simply do not have time to immerse myself in the fictional realms I often indulge in. Usually that means textbooks have taken over my soul. I will never count those as “books”, because, even though I enjoy reading them for the most part, I do not become lost in them. When that happens, instead of picking up a book in my much sought after spare time, I tend to lean more towards fanfiction. Those are generally shorter, and a much quicker read than novels tend to be. At least the ones I choose. It helps me keep the mediocrity of school-required reading at bay by adding a bit of spice to my brain.

Overall, I’d say it’s hard for me to actually come upon “reader’s block”. I hesitate to say it is impossible, because I know that the minute that phrase crosses my mind I’ll be jinxing myself. That would be really horrible considering I’ve got a lot of school-required reading waiting for me.

I’m also feeling the urge to read a novel. Which means I will probably be up all night in order to cram all my fun reading in with my required reading.

If I’m not around for the next few days, it is probably because I am stuck in this chair.

It’s a good thing I don’t own anything like this chair. I’d never leave.

~J. Spade

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Knowing the Truth

We live in a world of self awareness, and that self awareness is brought forth because we assume to know our own self worth. In some cases that self worth might be more focused on the lack of, which really happen to be just lies we’ve spun to build up walls. After all, we know who we are or who we can be, and yet all we see are the flaws that take up the day to day. These flaws that we only perceive ourselves to have is because we are stuck in a loop of comparing our worst days to somebody else’s best. That is not fair to anyone.

We see our bare selves and we pick at it, and we see someone’s day-face and decide that we need to be like that all the time. It’s unhealthy, and it distorts your own view of your day-face.

I’m guilty of this, and we all are on some degree.

As a strong “love your body” advocate I feel like a hypocrite every time I look in the mirror. My mom used to tell me I was my own worst critic when it came to any of my creative works, but I don’t think she realized how much my critiques bled over into my daily psyche. Nothing I did or wore was ever good enough. While I’m getting better, those moments of self doubt still leave me bed-ridden and sad from time to time.

I find it ridiculous, all of it. Because I know I’m not really all that ugly or fat, but I still feel those things as many of us do. Why we feel the need to put feeling to these words that really are only descriptive I will never understand.

I wish it was easy to stand up and face down those societal molds and say things like, “Yes, my love handles might be a bit more prominent than what the media deems ‘normal’ but that’s not me, because it doesn’t show that I can paint and write and that helps make me who I am.”

Okay, so it’s a bit easier to say than I had originally accounted for, but I want to be able to say it and feel it with every fiber of my being. I want my words to ring just as true in my mind as they do in the air.

Our self awareness should just become awareness as we realize that all of us have day-faces that we hide behind. As I sit here with my top-knot of a bun, sweats, and spot-treatment mask of a face, I need to understand that this is not my ‘red-carpet’ look. Therefore, comparing this behind-the-scenes look to some A-Listers glammed up persona is not going to do anyone any good.

Except maybe the 1/2-gallon of peppermint ice-cream I bemoan my troubles to at the end of the day, but that’s beside the point. I’m also just using this moment as a shameless promotion for my favorite seasonal treat, because I am so happy it’s here.

Back on topic though.

The next time you see a picture of a celebrity all dolled up with thousands of dollars worth of makeup and clothes, just know that you’d look just as fantastic under the same pampering. Even if you can’t bring yourself to think that’s true, just knowing that someone out there would think you’re beautiful might be enough to do the trick.

And if that isn’t enough, then maybe the proof will lie within the meme.

~Johana Spade

 

Make It Count

You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message?


 

In a world that over 7 billion people call home, how does an individual decide who their one important person is? Are we really picking one person more deserving than the rest? I talk to people of importance every day. We share smiles, conversations, and dreams. These people are important to me, so therefore they are simply important to the world.

When thinking like that, it just makes choosing who will be the recipient of my message that much harder.

The last time I was given a somewhat similar challenge, I wrote to my past-self. While I would love to choose her again, because she needs all the support she can get, I know that it might be more feasible to go a different route.

No, I’m not going to write a message to my future-self either. We might as well write off my present-self too, because I can send words to anyone and they’ll read it.

The truth is of the matter is, I don’t know who that anyone might be.

I could send it to actors/actresses. Any of them would be within the reach of my message. From Jennifer Lawrence to Emma Watson, and from Tom Hiddleston to Robert Downey Jr. They would hear what I had to say. My praise for their talents, and my wishes to just be successful in whatever I choose. It would all flow straight from my mind into theirs, but I’m not sure I would want that.

Then I think of all the people who have performed a heroic act and who have not received the proper glorified praise for it other then the obligatory 15-minutes. As much as I would love to send it to an actor/actress and know that they would actually see my message, I know that I could send them fanmail anyway. It’s not guaranteed that they’ll see it, but it will be addressed to them. The same as the thousand or so similar messages that have their name on it.

My message would be to those who don’t get enough thanks in their life, to the man who saved a baby but only got a tiny news segment and profuse thanks from the family. My letter would be to you. To the woman who stood by the side of a lost young girl just so she knew she wasn’t alone. You can have my thanks. To anyone out there who just got into the school they wanted or who got the job they interviewed for, my letter is to you.

My feelings cannot be condensed to just one person, because there are so many people out there who need to hear it. They need to know that their thoughts and actions are valued. That even though the whole world doesn’t know their name or their face that they are still just as important as those who are well known.

I give my message to those of you who have done or who will do something worth noting, because even though the whole world doesn’t recognize you that does not make you any less important to those in your life. You are great, and you are loved.

We’ve all been given an opportunity to live, so let’s do what we can to make it count.

~J. Spade

 

 

 

Toast to You

Exploring the mighty blogosphere can be as scary as it is enlightening. It’s a massive place that houses millions of different blogs, with different writers, styles, and preferences; and that’s wonderful. Maybe you’re wondering how I can find something that is so amazing to be even the slightest bit scary.

The answer to that is easy.

Talent.

Maybe the answer isn’t as easy as I originally thought. It’s not that I am scared of talent, per se. The thing that scares me is the lingering fear that I will not match up to aforementioned talent. As often as I have been told not to compare myself to others, it’s one of those ‘old habits’ kicks and their death is hard.

But this post isn’t about me. Shocking, I know. This post is about you, those of you who will and who won’t read this post. It’s meant for you, I’m just the messenger here.

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the day browsing unknown blogs and discovering new people to be in awe over. Photography blogs, poetry blogs, blogs with cats, music, and food. All different types of blogs passed in front of my eyes, and I gobbled it all up like the proverbial turkey it was.

Come the end of my perusing, I felt empty. The fact of the matter remained that as much as I took from the posts and people I had just seen, I had given nothing back. Rather selfish if you ask me. Then it occurred to me that I could at least let the blogger know that I enjoyed their post, a small price to pay for devouring the glimpse they had given me into their life.

So I commented. I liked. And I followed. I handed them out like candy to Trick-or-Treater’s and I regret nothing. In fact, I plan to do it again. It’s a fulfilling task that makes me and the recipients feel better, and I like that feeling.

We could all do a little better to put a smile on the face of those we admire. A simple ‘like’ can do that, and all it takes is a click of a button.

Plus, looking at other blogs is a learning experience. I, for one, learned that my blog needs work. Not that I already didn’t know that, but a certain blogger helped me to realize I needed more cats on my blog. Because cats. For that I can’t thank her enough for the unintentional insight she gave me.

And now, cats.

DSC_0289Mouse posing for the camera.
DSC_0299
Louis objecting to having his picture taken.

 ~J. Spade

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

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

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