Thursday, October 27, 2011

We Were Given the Right To Freedom Of Expression for a Reason

After entirely altering the story line and plot to my first idea for a children’s book, I reorganized a different idea. I wanted to create a story that taught the kids to never be afraid to be themselves, use their right to freedom of expression, and live their life the way they want regardless of what other people think of their lifestyle choices and personal preferences. I wanted to include a moral of courage, persistence and most importantly, staying true to yourself. I believe that one of the best examples of this is the general high school standard of what to wear and what not to wear, what will get you made fun of, what will allow you to gain “friends”. Other people’s ignorance is what keeps teenagers back from dressing the way they would truly like to and expressing themselves in their own way, rather than conforming to the guidelines of what everyone else is wearing or what everyone else considers “in” at that moment in time. I wanted to teach the children that it’s okay to show your true self and have enough self-respect to present yourself differently than the others and even stand out in a crowd, regardless of what they may say or think of you. All that matters is that you are comfortable and confident in the way you look.
            The mentor text I picked from the list of choices I was given was the book called Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. This book is about a future society in which the age group known as the “Uglies” are forced to have mandatory plastic society in order to conform the way they look to fit the societal norms of the time period. The book exposes the flaws in being the same as everyone else around you and acting almost as a robot to society, possessing no creativity or unique self expression ever. Although there is a different spin on things, my story line relates a lot to this book. Clothing can be compared to physical features. The way you present yourself is entirely up to you and it is not right to allow others to change the way you make yourself appear when your heart says otherwise. No one should ever be pressured into wearing something just because it’s considered cool for their age group or labeled social group. My story also proves that your friends aren’t your true friends if they change the way they interact with you just because you changed the way your dress and present yourself. Today, sadly, a lot of high schools are segregated into groups and cliques simply based upon what type of clothes students wear and what their style is considered as. I strongly support the opposite opinion and would like to convey a message to the students that will stay with them and develop one they can implement in their own lives on a daily basis.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Perseverance: The Key to Success

Perseverance. It is the key to success, the master component of change, the gateway to achievement. Perseverance is a best friend, an enemy, a rewarding obstacle. It is what separates the good from the great, the committed from the lazy, the center focal point from the background. It is ultimately what establishes the turning point from mediocre to outstanding, from average to extraordinary. People who have perseverance have the world. Every opportunity they’ve ever wanted right before them, luring, waiting to be captured at the climax of success. People who have perseverance are invincible.

I am invincible. I have perseverance.
            From a young age I have been taught that success does not just get handed to you with a red bow on it; you have to work toward it. Your dreams don’t simply come true on their own, but rather it is your responsibility to persevere and overcome whatever challenges may lie in your path to obtain them. I have been shown to put everything I have into my sports, school work, job, and even my social life in order to benefit and profit from the experiences I may have throughout my lifetime. I remind myself every day that hard work is needed in every area of my own life and the lives of others, however it is the will to push through it that some lack. A want is what you persevere for. If you want something badly enough, it is purely up to you and only you to chase after it and make it your own. Giving up on the chase is what separates the people who the attribute of perseverance from those who lack it. It is not a given gift, but something that is yours to grasp the meaning of and put it into beneficial effect.
A wise man once said, “Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of the person who’s doing it”. If a person wants a reward, dream, or goal badly enough, the obstacles in their way will not stop them from achieving their ultimate ambition. A person who possesses perseverance is not one who makes use of the phrase “I can’t”. With perseverance a person can and will.
I have perseverance. I can do whatever it is that I may set my mind to. And right now it is getting this blog post posted before 10 PM.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Personal Narrative: Shifting Perspectives

One is able to learn a great deal from working inside an old, cramped ice cream shop. Although it is a crowded, stressful place of work, my time working at Peaceful Meadows Homemade Ice Cream has supplied me with substantial life lessons of which I will surely take to my grave with me from none other but yes, the customers I am fortunate enough to experience on a daily basis. Of course there are the rude ones, the unfriendly ones, the enemies; but the ones that I’ve really cherished the opportunity to meet have been the few kind, compassionate, and even damaged souls that have stepped through those tacky, hot pink doors. Whether it be a lonely, passionate, elderly man or simply someone just looking for a friend to talk to, every one has had a lesson to teach me, whether it was voluntary or not. These ordinary people have ultimately changed my perspective on life and have altered the way I view and value the smaller things that come along with it.
            One man, an old fellow who happens to be a former Marine, hobbles into the store every day, aided by his walker, at about twelve o’clock to receive his mid-day sweet tooth satisfaction. He orders his usual strawberry frappe and while I proceed to fill his order we discuss the small talk that would normally occur between two such people.
“How have you been?”
“Eh, the usual.”
            He then carries on to explain to me how lonely he becomes at times. I sensed an escalation of emotion in his tone, as he began explaining his daughter’s weekly custom of bringing over her dog to the man’s house to stay with him for a few days at a time. He expressed his frustration at the fact that this week she had failed to fulfill her duties and to inform the man that the dog would not be delivered.
“You know, it’s a pretty lonely life and I just don’t think they understand that”
            This subtle declaration of his emotions, yet a powerful placement of all his worries and burdens right out onto the sticky, cramped, countertop surface that occupied the space between us, gave me that strange, indescribable feeling of sympathy I never knew I could possess for someone I had barely known. I turned, pausing from filling the cup with strawberry ice cream and gazed up at him. His face pale and blank, yet I could feel the pain he experienced inside by just looking into his dark chocolate brown eyes. As he peered back at me, there was silence. A moment for his reflection, and also a moment for my compassion and understanding. Feeling the pressing need to respond, I blurted out an unrehearsed “I’m so sorry”. The man shrugged, looking away almost ashamed, and as I turned backwards to the blender I began to really process the conversation just at hand. Over the loud buzz of the pulverizing blade, I caught myself pondering what the man had said, weighing it against my own personal family situation and thinking deeply about the way I was currently treating my parents and how I wanted to be treated when I reached that age. The man’s simple, yet ever-so-meaningful exclamation made me seriously reconsider the way I was living my life and the time I was spending with the ones I loved. Was I putting forth enough effort to show them how much I care?
            To this day the man saunters in every day, without fail, for a strawberry frappe and a short chat with whoever may be behind the counter. This man, little does he know, has changed my overall outlook on life and the way I believe I should be living it. He has changed the way I view my family and how they should be treated. He has showed me that when I am older, I want to receive what I have given to others in the past. This man has taught me a great deal of significant life lessons and for that I admire him; yet, I never even learned his first name.