In the Wake of Tragedy

Any time we tell a story about ourselves, it is a story of how we are a hero (in order that we might build ourselves up) or a victim (so that we might garner sympathy and create deeper bonds in our relationships). We do not tell stories in which we are the villain because villains are hated and it is from a sense of self-preservation that we seek not to be hated, but to be understood. In that search we instinctively tell ourselves that we are heroes educating those around us or victims of an insensitive/uncaring world.

Sometimes we are educating others, sometimes we are surrounded by indifference. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, we only ever see ourselves as heroes or victims. This is also true of the world’s villains, no villain ever called themselves a villain unless they were a cartoon or Shakespearean antagonist or trying for irony as they shrugged off some outsider’s opinion of themselves.


I’m Not the Only Goose in Town

I am not nor have I ever been a very big fan of Aesop. What I mean to say is that too many of our long-held misperceptions of various animals, and by extension our fellow man, are stupid-harmful. So many of his fables would progress and end in ways very different from the originals if a creature’s behavior were based in what we know now.

If a boy continued to cry wolf when there was no wolf, he would be replaced as shepherd by someone the villagers could trust. If a talking lion is willing to file down his teeth for the sake of love, essentially disabling himself, it’s because he knows something about his bride we don’t. Aesop’s fables have spent a lot of time being admired for how — in his day — he was able to so succinctly portray societal ills which continue to pervade in today’s landscape.


What Makes a Life Lucky?

Some people have an unnecessary aversion to luck. I met a woman who works in a gorgeous library, writes adolescent literature in her spare time, and was planning on attending an upcoming conference of the Society of Children’s Books Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). I said she was lucky and she was immediately up in arms.

I am not lucky. I have worked very hard for a very long time and made smart decisions to get where I wanted to be. Luck had nothing to do with it.


Stay-Laces: Issues With Personal Back-Story

Inner critics are noisy buggers that don’t know how to let up, but are crazy-good at learning. Any time anyone says anything critical of you or someone you consider to be similar to yourself, your inner critic is listening in and building up their artillery. The more artillery we let our inner critics hold on to, the less art we tend to make.

Our experiences are huge in influencing who we are, how we stand in the world, and what we say to ourselves. Think back to being a kid and how — sometimes — not being able to color inside the lines made you feel like the biggest jerk in the world. You weren’t really, but childhood makes everything bigger like that.


When Someone Asks if You’re a Princess, You Say “Yes”

My sister once told me I should go out with a particular guy because he would treat me like a princess. She meant that he would spoil and pamper me and put my wants and needs above his own. I responded to the meaning of her sentiment by saying “I don’t want to be treated like a princess, I want to be treated like a human being.”

Many women and girls out there share my sister’s opinion about what it means to be treated like a princess. Some add additional meaning such as being eternally in love (thanks for setting that bar, RomComs) or always being taken care of by a man (which I’m sure we all know gets the most flack for good reason). Yet this definition of being treated like a princess centers on the end of the story, on the wedding bells and feasts and especiallyhappily ever after.”


Focus Too Much on a Particular Result and You Lose Focus on the Bigger Picture

Sometimes we’re so focused on a desired outcome that we try to nudge it a little force it and just end up frustrating ourselves. Sometimes, while respecting the fact that we can’t always get what we want the exact minute that we want it, we forget that spending a good amount of time having reasonable expectations will not guarantee that we will be “rewarded” on those occasions when we want a little more than usual. Sometimes we just don’t know how to be satisfied with what we’ve got going on right here, right now.

We want more stuff because we deserve more stuff because we deny ourselves. We want more money because we deserve more money because we never rock the boat by asking for a raise (to be fair, minimum wage is not a wage). We want more time because we deserve more time because we fill all our time with the wants and the needs and the expectations of others.