Purple Rain

You think she is just a happy girl eating ice cream. She has a smile on her face as she walks through the crowd of happy people watching the outdoor concert. So yeah, you wouldn’t question where her smile stems from.

But there’s something else to her story, like there usually is.

She wishes her story could be as simple as it looks. She wishes that moment in the crowd was an easy smile.

What you missed was the person walking ahead of her, the person she was following. The distance between them grew. She couldn’t see his face, so she held her own expression. She wore a smile, and she remembers it felt good.

As his strides got longer, she felt more alone. But, she realized she was on her own the whole time anyway, so she continued to smile.

She decided to feel the grace of the moment around her. When she passed other people, she saw a joy that she couldn’t help but smile with. She felt the passion of the music being played on the stage behind her and she couldn’t help but sway with it. She had a smile on her face and as she looked at the people she was passing by, they smiled back at her. She was living in a moment, and it looked easy.

But the person walking ahead of her must have had a different determination. When she turned to watch a song that caught her attention, he didn’t follow. With a hard face, he stood his ground. Maybe it was because he couldn’t hear the same piano she heard when she was a kid and feel the joy that song always gave her. He didn’t feel the sacred melody that moved through everybody else in the crowd. Even so, why did he have to stay back?

She turned back to him thinking he’d be by her side, but instead found him 5 paces away standing there, waiting for her. She gave him a playful smile inviting him to join her, but I guess he didn’t see it. He only came up to her to tell her “c’mon let’s go.” She bit her lip, held her breath while she took a spoonful of her ice cream, took one more gaze at the stage, and turned around to go with him. It was the pivot of her foot that sent her in a direction away from that moment. But she didn’t protest. She took another bite of her ice cream and continued to sway with the music as she walked behind him. She swayed and sang up the steps, through the entrance, up the elevator, and to their door. She stopped when the door shut behind her and she found herself in the quietest room in the whole building.

He doesn’t even realize what he just silenced.

The man who walks ahead of her doesn’t seem to care. He couldn’t know her because he never turns around to see her.

He says she’s crazy.

He doesn’t know that is the worst thing she could hear from him.

She’s become exhausted, over time. Exhausted trying to show him the good, what she sees. She feels like she’s screaming at the top of her lungs, but no, she’s standing in front of him struggling to get the right words out. With him like this, her heart feels like it drops into the acid of her stomach, over and over again.

You see, it’s not an easy smile.

Does IQ matter?

I read this article that was part of a pre-interview process for a tutoring program I’m interested in getting into. It contained research findings pertaining to learning specifically for children and the youth, but it got me thinking about adulthood and the lack of learning there is. When we attend school we are constantly working our brain which is actively adding to our intelligence. The main point in the article was that IQ is not a static position, it can grow. It showed that learning mindsets affect the progress and success of learning. So, for example, when one says “I’m just bad at math,” it is viewed as a static statement implying that one has always been and will always be bad at math. There is no perspective of improvement, thus creating an excuse for continuing to be bad at math. It was proven that students who were taught growth learning got higher scores than students who were taught study skills. The mindset is what makes the difference. With growth learning, students are taught that learning is a process and can improve with effort and dedication. Thinking, “I may be bad at math now, but I can improve” is the mindset that is set forth. Understanding that the brain is a muscle and needs to be worked to get stronger is a key step in growth learning. Also, understanding that there is time and room for improvement helps students view themselves as successful.

There are goals set forth. Goals specifically pertaining to learning. When I think about adulthood I see a lot of hoops that we have to jump through. Whether it be the job search process, acclimating to a new career, or gaining experience, we lose the mindset of growth learning. We forget to actively learn, and it’s because society has made it easy. It has set certain goals that we think we have to meet and gives us a satisfaction that isn’t necessarily productive for our learning. Make this number of calls, send these emails, make this amount in sales, memorize tonight’s menu offerings, etc…But do these actions contribute to the growth of our IQ? I’m not saying that people don’t learn from these experiences because we do, and they are important. But it’s the kind of learning and the mindset that we accustom ourselves with that will make a bigger difference.

The first year after I graduated from college, I felt this void that I contribute to my lack of learning. I focused on finding a career and enjoying life as it was thrown at me. I never thought about expanding my mind more by continuing to educate myself. My mindset was, “ok I graduated, I know a lot now and got through the hoops I needed to get through to get to the next step in my life.” But I found myself missing studying for tests, I found myself missing learning new things and having the mindset to improve my brain. I got lost in improving the social and emotional aspects of my life, which are just as important, but realizing now that my lack of intentional brain growth may have been the foundation of my struggles. We find satisfaction in watching documentaries, watching the news, or reading articles because we think it makes us knowledgeable. And it does, and it keeps us relevant. But, often we get lost in our relevance as we are filling our brains with information rather than setting goals for ourselves to improve the strength of our mind. It’s like when Einstein was asked what his phone number was and instead he grabbed the directory and said, “why should I memorize something that I can find in a book?” It’s the idea that clutter takes up our mind power. It creates deceiving learning growth and contributes to the excuses we make as to why we aren’t at a certain point or level. It’s part of why we end up settling.

Now, this is me dissecting the article and kind of running away with it. The focus was on youth learning growth and the positive impact it has on overall success and IQ. But being an adult, I can feel how this is true throughout life. Once you give up on the idea of actively learning, your brain, as a muscle, will not get stronger. Now, I’m not saying you get dumber, but to get smarter you have to have the perspective and understanding of learning, of working out your brain, and what is entailed to grow.

me for you

I lay my ambition at my feet so I know what direction to go.

I wear my heart on my sleeve so it becomes part of my identity.

I write my dreams on my skin so I don’t forget.

I wear contacts so I can see more than what is in front of me.

I do things with purpose, with drive, with love, with question, with loyalty, with aim, with intention, and with wonder.

I speak in metaphors and similes so others can understand and relate to me. My life is mine, and yours is yours. I leave things open to interpretation because that’s what it’s all about. Finding out what works for you, how I can relate to you, and finding the perceptions you need to move forward to the person you want to be.

That is why I write. I write mostly what I feel and experience, and if what I feel touches on your life in any way, then every silly word or thought I write is worth the vulnerability I feel as a writer.

You hope it isn’t you

I’d hate to burst your bubble so let me elevate you to a level of understanding.

You’re so quick to the tongue that your teeth are in the way for words to find a landing.

 

You are a tie-dye kept together with the rubber bands of someone else’s bindings.

 

You spit out words of a person before.

It’s so quick that you don’t even notice their reflection in your mirror.

 

I bet that rotten taste in your mouth

is left over from when you went south.

 

You have your bubble and world of mime.

Let’s play bumper cars, I know I’ll have a good time.

 

move on.

 

It was the day when you said nothing that spoke the loudest.

In that same day, I felt a chill pass through me. It must have been your ghost.

The words stuck on the tip of my tongue toppled over the brim of my lips and fell.

Heavy like a weighted lure, they found the ground quick.

I walked right over them, lifting my legs high.

I felt a cold push on my back, and I propelled myself forward.

We’re all jealous of the flying dragon

Do you know the level in Spyro where you have to fly through hoops and when you do a sound that you would image magic sounds like echoes through your speakers? Yeah, I want that. I want to have a path outlined for me reassuring me along the way that I’m doing the right thing. I actually fantasize about this image often. I can hear that magic ring as I get closer to the finish, and the best part is if I mess up I can try it again. And again. And again until I get what I want. Oh, wouldn’t that be nice?

But unfortunately, life isn’t as magical as the world of Spyro. The dragon in me is a little less cute, and a lot more realistic.

I think part of me has been waiting for the resemblance of a lit up path to appear to me guiding me to a destination, but no such path has materialized. So, understanding that this is not the way to go I look for other things. Possibilities. And there’s a lot of those which is good because I like options. Realizing that there’s no one right way is part of the battle, another part is following through with the moving part of it. You have to move your feet, move your mind, move into a mindset that will get you somewhere you want to be. I’m only now realizing that your destination doesn’t have to be an end all situation. Hell, you don’t even have to know your destination. It’s the journey that’s important. It’s the journey that takes up your time, it’s where you put in the effort, it’s where things matter.

You are actively creating your journey as you go whether you know it or not. You move from the punches being thrown at you, you leap to new places, you find new people, and the whole time your path is changing. Every encounter, every dream is taking you to a place that you don’t know yet. And that’s the real beauty of not having a path.

The down damned and dirty

Facing yourself, the down, damned and dirty. You feel the soot, the sweat, the oil on your face at night. You feel the cracks, the calluses, you pick at the gunk under the fingernails of your fiddling hand.

Facing yourself, the down, damned and dirty.

You know your ugly. You know your regrets, your hate, every unethical thought you’ve had, you spit at yourself in spite and shame. Oh, you know your ugly.

You execute yourself, so willing you put your head on the chopping block, you even cut the damn rope of the guillotine. Facing yourself.

But afterward, you pick up your head and place it back on your shoulders just so as to avert any suspicion of your crookedness. And you walk on.

Your foe, the eyes looking back at you in the mirror, mocks you because they see right through the makeup, the BS, the excuses.

You know what’s real and you know what you fight for. Which is why you walk with that load on your shoulders.

What you expose is your beauty and your strength. Your ugliness, bent, surrenders to the better parts of you. You know your ugly which is why you look so damn good.