Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Don't Miss It

    Today, my best friend had a little get together for her birthday.. I can't remember why, but suddenly, we were talking about texting someone who is right beside you. Most of the girls said they do it all the time (and yes, I am guilty as well), but no one was scolded for it. Because, why? When cell phones were just coming out, that idea would have been pointless to most. Not so much anymore.

   My iPod has been slowly detereating. It has stopped working, one app at a time, haha. Sure, I do more than my fair share on my latop and Ellie's device, but outside of the house, I'm usually without technology. Honestly, it's truly opened my eyes to see how much we use it. I've seen even the cloest friends ever, sitting next to each other, staring at their screens.

   I've seen how it can affect people, especially if someone happens to be on social media. I love the idea of Instagram, but at times, it causes more problems than I can expect. Suddenly, I'm wishing my pictures were that perfect, longing for friendships I want but don't have, and getting a backstage pass to every get-together I wasn't invited to.

   I would be a complete hypocrite if I called for a technology boycott. But I do think we need to consider what we're missing out. We can think of every reason we want for why we text our friends when we're in the same room together, but let's face it: they're all excuses. Excuses that are keeping us from living our lives. Trust me, I know how useful texting can be. But if we do that more than we actually talk to people, our friendships won't be nearly as solid.

   Worse, they'll be artificial. Just like texting is. It's about as close you can get to the real thing, but it's not the same as talking, really talking. I might be able to read the words, but I can't hear my friend's voice. I can only guess if she's in a good mood or not. Recently, a good friend and I have fallen out of the habit of texting and when I see her in person, I feel distant from her. Sometimes, I scold myself. Is that all our friendship is worth?

   These thoughts remind me of a lady from our old church. I only talked to her a few times, but recently, she was diagnosed with sereve Parkinson's, so bad lost the ability to talk. I barely knew her, but my heart ached as soon as I found out. It made me feel terrible.  There, I was, shutting the world out and listening to music when I could be spending laughing with my family. And there was a lady I knew, who could never laugh again.

  So I challenge you and I challenge myself. Go out of your way this week, to spend time with people. Use your voice to laugh, to encourage others, to brighten someone's day. Think of it this way, if God wanted us just to communicate through a little device and keyboard, He would have made sure everyone had one. But He didn't. He gave us voices. Don't miss your chance to use yours.

So how has technology affected your life? Good stuff and bad stuff, just lay it all out. I'll be happy to chat with you :)
Thanks to everyone who read and commented on my last post, btw.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

5 Excuses Introverts Make to Avoid Conversations

I return to blogging to discuss a subject I know well: the topic of introvert-ness.

In truth, I wouldn't call myself a full-out introvert. Instead, circumstances have made me a "wanna-be extrovert" introvert. Makes a lot of sense, right? Last year, we started going to a new church. Though I love the church, it's forced me to make new friends (dun dun dun) and (worse) go up to people and start a conversation. "dramatic gasp" Now, we do "church things" about 3-4 nights a week on average.

Meaning: I have to be sociable on a regular basic. Of course, in my book, "sociable" actually means: sitting in a room full of people talking and trying to work up the courage to go to say hi to someone. Yeah, it's a struggle. My mind is basically in civil war because how can I be pretend to be a extrovert and stay true to my introvert self? Pretty much, I have a lot of conflicting thoughts in the process.

So I present to you: the Top 5 Excuses I Make to Myself in order to Avoid Conversations. Because, let's face it: being an introvert is hard. Working up the courage to talk to new people, keeping up conversations, ugh, it's tiring. If you're in a introvert, I'm sure you'll relate to some of these. And if you're of the other species (jk), maybe you'll understand us introverts a little better.

1. "I could go talk to Friend B right now. But I just had a long conversation w/ Friend A. I should probably hold it off. Don't want to overdo it here." *nervous laughter*
This is probably my go-to excuse because  I usually can keep up a long conversation with one good friend. Groups are a different story. And besides, there's nothing more satisfying to a awkward introvert than having a long, satisfying conversation with a friend where you actually enjoyed yourself.

2. *looks around the room and only sees one good friend sitting alone* "I could go talk to her, but I just remembered that I talked to her two days ago. Let's not; I don't want to be the annoying one."
No, I really don't.

3. "Look, there's five different friends I could be talking to right now. But why would I want to do that when I could be reading my book/playing the piano/writing that one thing?"
Like I said, our family spends a lot of time in church. Yes,  we're primarily listening to God's word being preached. But our second priority is talking to our friends. Also known as, my family talks to their friends and I sit there contemplating whether I should go to talk to my friends. Usually, I give in to this urge, but sometimes, it gets too much for my brain. Fortunately, there is a beautiful grand piano sitting on the stage that I wander up to and play while waiting for them. Because my piano at home does not sound that great, and you have to keep your priorities straight, peoples.

4. *debating over whether I should talk to that one person or not* "You know, I just remembered I have to do that one totally insignificant thing. Why don't I just do that now because that would be so much more fun than having an awkward conversation?"
About 85.962% of the conversations I avoid is because of my strong fear of awkwardness. It's a understood fear since I have to lead half of the conversations I get myself into. Which is much more difficult than it sounds, as I will explain in my final point.

5. "Yes, yes, I could go talk to several people right now and have a jolly good time. But what if they're feeling talkative and I have to lead the conversation and I don't know what to say and the silence goes on longer than 3.2 seconds?"
Goodness, I'm sweating just thinking about it. Silence, it makes me sick, especially when it's my fault. Despite that I'm a creative writer, I like to keep it safe. No need to make myself look stupid. Of course, my fear of awkwardness usually leads me into being awkward around my friends. I need a new strategy, obviously.

I've hoped you've enjoyed an exclusive backstage pass to my insecure little head. I've enjoyed getting honest with myself, haha. Anyways, do you make any of these excuses as an introvert? Or do you have different ways to avoid conversation? On the other hand, if you're an extrovert, how do you do it? Haha, I hope you guys take a moment to comment. I'm excited to get back on blogging and read what you have to say :) Creds to Ellie, for providing some awesome guitar music while I was writing this.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

You're Not Alone

Hello. It's me again. I've decided to truly return to blogging.  I know I've said this a lot, but I really do mean to stay on this time. Thank you to everyone who commented on my last Hamilton post. Writing that was so much fun, just because I feel so passionately about that musical. Maybe that's what I need to do to stay committed; write what I'm passionately about.

I almost wish I could say my life was going "same old, same old", but the truth is, it's not. And I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. We've been going to a new church, which is probably the best change I've experienced. The people there are... amazing. I've learned so much about life, about Jesus, about myself.

But on the other hand, change has really hurt me. Just late last year, we practically had to say goodbye to some friends I'd basically grown up with. And it still hurts, thinking about them. It was one of those things that you never want to change, but you know it will, eventually. When it finally did, I didn't know what to do. It's gotten better; I've made new friends. But I still feel a little empty every now and then.

But of course, the biggest problem of all might be that I don't know who I am. I thought I did--I was so sure--but now I don't. Now, I really don't know anything. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, what I wanted to write, who my best friends were, what the future would be like.

But I don't.

However, I'm working on it. I just started on my first solo writing project for the first time in years. I feel pretty sure about this one, if not the only thing I'm sure about. Things have changed, I might not know where I'm going or who I am, but I know some things stay the same. I still write, just not as much. I adore music with my every breath, even more now. I love my family; I love the friends I have. Maybe that's enough to get me by for now.

So I'm just guessing here, but you might be like me. You might not know where you're going with your life or if anything is going to work out. But it's ok, believe me. You'll figure it out. That's what I'm sure of, by the grace of God, I will figure it out.

You're not alone.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

What's Your Name Man?: A Hamilton Review

Hello friends!

I know, I know, I haven't been on here in forever, but I hope you look past that fact enough to read this post. I've had severe writer's block, I suppose you could say? But I finally feel inspired enough to get back on here again, to share something very special with you.

Weeks ago, I was introduced to a Broadway show called Hamilton. Before then, I'd only seen the album on the iTunes charts. Like most things, it had to grow on me, but in days, I was obsessed. I can't get enough of it. And I know why understand many feel the same way I do.

ABOUT: Hamilton is a Broadway Musical "about America now, told by America now", hence the amazing African American and Puerto Rican actors playing our respectable founding fathers. It tells the story of a less well-known American,  our first Treasurer Alexander Hamilton. Most people know him from being on the ten dollar bill, if that. But most people aren't aware that Alexander was a orphan from the Caribbean, was George Washington's "Right Hand Man" and literately "wrote his way out" out of nearly every tragic situation he faced. The play and the music was written by a musical genius named Lin-Manuel Miranda, who spent eight years writing it.


ALEXANDER HAMILTON (Lin-Manuel Miranda): Right away, we learn that Hamilton has come from a tragic past. His mother died with of a fever that almost killed him too. A hurricane destroyed his home-town in the Caribbean. Since his mother died, he had no family until marrying his wife Eliza. (Philippa Soo)

As much as I love  everyone in
this play, Hamilton was my favorite. First of all, he's a headstrong writer.  At least in the play, he's a lady's man. You'd expect him to marry a woman with a fiery heart like his. Instead, he falls in love with Eliza, who's just about as good as any person can be.  It's not a cheesy story: Hamilton truly came from nothing and worked his way to finding a family, a country, and something worth fighting for

Favorite Line: UGH EVERYTHING. But I think he had me at, "I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory."

AARON BURR (Leslie Odom Jr.) : Don't know his name?  He was the Vice President under Thomas Jefferson. Pretty quickly, we learn that he was the one who killed Hamilton in a duel. "Well, if you love Hamilton, you hate Burr, right?" Actually no. Like Hamilton, Burr's an orphan who's basically lost everyone in his life. He wants to do great things, but he refuses to make a move until he's sure it's the right one. But he's so elegant and poetic and I just love him too, ok?

Favorite Line: Life doesn't discriminate between the sinners and saints, it takes, and it takes, and it takes...

From hip-hop to show-tunes, this musical has everything genre-wise. But the lyrics are the best. Here's just a taste of the poetry I'm talking about:

"You built me palaces out of paragraphs, you built cathedrals." -Eliza Hamilton, "Burn"
"If you stand for nothing, Burr, what you'll fall for?"-Alexander (Actually a real quote)
"Dying is easy, young man, living is much harder." -George Washington (also real. May I mention that this play was extremely well researched?)
"We dream of a brand new start, but we dream in the dark for the most part."-Burr, "The Room Where it Happens
"What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see." -"The World Was Wide Enough)

The catchiest songs include:
My Shot (CLEAN VERSION) (basically Hamilton meeting his friends and his philosophy on life)
The Room Where it Happens (This song is legit the coolest song in the musical, with Aaron Burr, of course)
Guns and Ships (about Layfette, this song contains the best rapping)

The Sweetest Songs include:
Helpless (the song about Eliza meeting Alexander
Dear Theodisa (This is sung by Alexander and Aaron Burr to their children; it's basically the prettiest thing)
And of course, the theme song "Alexander Hamilton" is amazing. though it does include a few mild words. Look up a clean version for that one.

First of all, it portrays every character with their own music style according to their own historical character. For example, we have Layfette, who's from France. At first, he's stumbling around with his English while rapping in this awesome French accent. And then a few songs later, when he gets the hang of the language, he's suddenly busting out these really fast, cool lyrics that are awesome, doing a better job than the English men.

Also, I love the feminism. A lot of times, I don't agree with how our culture has presented it. "Yeah, strong women know martial arts and can body slam anyone!"  That is not the case here. The girls aren't telling everyone women should leave their children and join the frontlines asap. They're simply saying that women's ideas should be respected just as much as men's are. I think that's something we all can agree with.

There's no clear bad guy in Hamilton. In fact, most everyone believes in the same thing. They all want America to prosper; they believe in freedom and justice. They all have different ways of going about it. No founding father is perfect, as we learn, even George Washington. In any other form of literature, he's portrayed to be our all-knowing leader of our country. But in Hamilton, he's just a honorable man trying not to make the same mistakes. At one point, Washington tells Hamilton that he led his men into massacre in his younger years.

But I think the best message Hamilton offers is its lesson about legacy. From the first song, Hamilton's goal is to "die in glory", to leave his mark on the world. As it turns out, his own ambition spurs him on to make his biggest mistakes. His biggest fear is rejection, so  much that his actions to avoid it nearly destroy his family. In the end, he dies for what he believes in, killed in a duel that not many people remember. He saves America from debt, though he is rarely credited for his efforts. If this musical teaches anything, it's this: We need to let our legacy take care of itself. We can't control what how people will react; all we can do is choose to do what's right.

Unfortunately, Hamilton is not without faults. In fact, the biggest one is the language. Since this musical is hip-hop influence, it does include some pretty bad profanities. Fortunately, there is a clean version of the album that blocks the worst stuff out. So, if you chose to listen, make sure it's the right album.  There's a catch to this too: It doesn't block out everything. The album is basically a little better than an Avengers movie. But if you overlook that, the musical is still a poetic, unique take on America history.

So what do you think? Have you heard Hamilton? Do you like it? What's your favorite song? Do you agree with the messages I presented, about feminism, legacy, etc. Comment! I'd love to find fellow Hamilton lovers.

Here's a few of the best songs (no bad words included)

If you've made it this far, I applaud you! I hope you like this post; hopefully, I'll get back on here soon:) This is a review of the album, not the actual musical.