Letters to Myself

I just started watching a new show called Orange. It’s under the 2016 Summer Anime list, if anyone is wonder. It got me thinking about this project I did back when I was 16, where we had to write a letter addressed to our past selves. I can remember giving my 13 year old self a huge lecture on how I should have been more out going and less occupied with what others thought about me. At 16, I thought that I knew everything. My parents still say that I think I know everything, and that I enjoy correcting people (mostly my mother). My mom thinks I’m egotistical due to the fact that I’m a musician. I couldn’t deny it because there are days when I spend hours just looking at myself…and I do take a lot of selfies (I don’t share them anywhere).

To be honest I think what happened was, after being a moody 13 year old with a low self-esteem, I went to high school and decided I no longer cared if I wasn’t with the in-crowd. As you can see, I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I watch anime. One of my closest childhood friends from when I was 3 or 4 was from Japan, and so they used to buy me animes on VHS. No I don’t call myself an otaku. Yes I also read manga, but I enjoy comics in general (Archie anyone? Gotta love Jughead). So basically, to get back on topic, I realized that just because my hobbies have always consisted of writing, watching anime and music didn’t mean that I had to hide it from people. I figured, if people liked me for who I was then that was great. It was stupid trying to lie about what shows I watched and what sports I liked when I wasn’t really into any of that. While all my friends played football (American), I was more interested in pretending I was a Jedi knight…or petting the stray cat that liked to visit us at recess.

So I suppose my 16 year old self had a reason to be so harsh towards my 13 year old self. The thing is, looking back now, being 13 and 16 was equally stressful and I went through experiences that…well at the time made me feel like the sky was falling. Now that I’m considered an adult (who drinks mountain dew instead of beer and uses a starwars cup while using the worlds best Spiderman bookmark), I think I can say that I’ve realized that each part of my life is a new challenge. It seems hard at the time but once I get over it, it feels like it was a breeze.

From my first time being extremely jealous to my first date. My first experience with death to my first time holding a new baby. From bad grades to bulking down. From writing an entire novel without chapters or page numbers to becoming more organized and actually planning things out. The big and the small, all molded me into the somewhat adult I am today…although all the 16 year olds I work with think I’m the same age.

So, I’m not sure what I would say to myself at ages 13 or 16…or even to myself ten years from now when I’m 30. Wow…I’ll be 30 some day. Hopefully I have my life in order by then. To be honest I feel like I got myself where I need to be now. I try not to lie awake at night regretting the decisions I’ve made in the past. I try not to ponder the future too much either these days. Kind of makes me feel a little down…knowing that certain people won’t be with me anymore. All I can do is keep going forward. If YOLO taught me anything in high school it was that I should spend more time laughing and less time fighting. I should make time for friends and family. I should go into a career that I know I will love and will give me the most fulfilment. I shouldn’t jump the gun on decisions, and I shouldn’t put them off too long either. I shouldn’t think too much, and I should know when to take the time to think. I should step outside of my comfort zone, and I shouldn’t be afraid to stand my ground. If this were a letter to my past self or the person I’ll be when I’m 30…I’d probably say “You’re doing great. Just remember right now is a challenge but once you get over this hill, you’ll find the next will be a little easier to climb.”

— R

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Words

One thing that writers know much more than the rest of the world, is that words have power. Words allow us to communicate, and to create. Everything that is and will be, is at some point spoken, thought of, or written. Because of this, it is important that we use and choose the right words. The good words.

            Because I volunteer with young children, I have witnessed them being taught the power of words, and the differences words can make when spoken to others as well as themselves. For example, there are good words, and bad words. Good words, are words of encouragement, of life, of love and of friendship: words that make people smile, or give them that warm-fuzzy feeling when they are read or spoken. However bad words, are words of hatred, destruction, and of pain: words that are meant to hurt others, to break them, and occasionally make them feel that awful numbness within that sometimes doesn’t fully go away. Now my question is, why is it that we are taught the differences between good and bad words, but yet as we grow we decide to use them without any thought? Why is it that when two people get into an argument, they use words that purposely meant to hurt? We know better, and yet many of us do this. We even use bad words on ourselves, telling ourselves things like we “aren’t good enough,” or “aren’t cool,” and after a while of saying these things, these words we spoke, or thought, or wrote about ourselves feel so real, that they take on a life of their own and become a part of our reality. That is why we need to reteach ourselves to think before we speak. That is why we need to start building ourselves up with good words. A quote that I really like from the movie Tintin, said by Capitan Haddock is, “There are plenty of others willing to call you a failure. A fool. A loser. A hopeless souse. Don’t you ever say it of yourself.” This is something that I tell people all the time. Capitan Haddock is right, there are tons of people who will say bad things about you, but you should never say it about yourself, because once you do, you’re agreeing with them. Agreeing with them is considered admitting to defeat in the eyes of the Capitan. Capitan Haddock wants us to know that we should never give up without a fight. That is why I decided that I would start up a little challenge for myself, and for everyone reading this blog.

            Here’s how it is going to work: make a list of good words that you can put towards yourself. For example, you could write down the word creative. The list should have at least ten to twenty things on it. Once you have made your list write the words I AM big and bold on the top, and post your list up somewhere where you can see it often. Every time you walk by the list, read it. Look at all the good words, the words that are true to you. If you want, make lists of good words for your friends, family, pets, co-workers, etc.

If you want an example of words that you can use, here are a few:

  1. Funny
  2. Smart
  3. Attractive
  4. Creative
  5. Great
  6. Loyal
  7. Brave
  8. Strong
  9. Talented
  10. Kind-hearted
  11. Friendly
  12. Patient
  13. Sweet
  14. Happy
  15. Healthy
  16. Good-looking
  17. Cute
  18. Wonderful
  19. Excellent
  20. Fabulous
  21. Tranquil

 

Till next time,

 

Orion.

Old Drafts

Whenever I go back and read old drafts of books that I have written, I either laugh until my stomach hurts, or I grow frustrated with the lack of knowledge I once had. It’s funny though, whether I laugh, or get frustrated, reading old drafts is still painful to do, but I do it anyways, because I feel that it is encouraging to see how far along I’ve come. For example in the beginning I would repeatedly use the word “said” but later on I began to try other words like, “yelled,” or “implied.” My grammar got much, much better, and my structure as well improved over time. As I write, my writing improves, and I also cannot forget to mention that reading also helps me to improve writing. I believe reading is very important, and is something everyone should take time to do. Now, I want to challenge you, to go and find something old that you have written, whether it is something from a month ago, or five years ago, it doesn’t matter. It just has to be old. Trust me the older, the better! I want you to look through it, in a constructive way, and compare it to something that you’ve written more recently. You might be surprised by the difference a little reading and writing can do. 🙂

Till next time,

 

Orion