Be Content

I wrote a song when I was 14 years old called “Eyes of Innocence.” I loved it, and I still do. Loved it enough to have it copywrited at the same age. I enjoyed it so much because it was a deeply personal song. It’s really about how being a kid is where it’s at, you know? You can believe anything you want, and no one is going to tell you that you’re wrong.

Do you fly away to Neverland to play with Peter Pan and his Lost Boys every night? Heck, yeah. Do pirate ships soar through the sky? Of course! Are fireflies fairies in disguise? Yes, but don’t tell anyone because it’s supposed to be a secret—they trusted me with this top-secret information, and I can’t betray them.

It’s an age where people provide for you, when things are handed to you if they’re too high for you to reach. It’s a time when, if you’re lucky, you get tucked into bed every night. Basically, the principle question in the song is “wasn’t it easier searching for Neverland through eyes of innocence?”

Because we grow up, and things aren’t always so easy now that we’ve lost that shimmer of incorruptibility.

Back in the day, people could tell us that fairies don’t exist and there’s no way that we’d ever believe that. We’d go on playing, pretending, without a care in the world. Now, it takes a mere dirty look for someone to ruin our entire day.

It’s funny how we spend our whole young lives striving for adulthood. For me, it was idolizing the fact that adults got to choose the magnets that went on the fridge and the food that went inside of it. We want to learn to drive so that we can go anywhere we want! We want a job so that we can have money to buy cool things like toys.

So I grew up. I went vegan and suddenly I had to do the grocery shopping. It was fun! … once… Then I learned how to drive, and I thought I’d finally found freedom. Turns out, it’s the worst. And I have a job! But it’s not fun. And I don’t spend my money on toys, I spend my money on Chipotle on the occasion that I decide to “treat myself.”

Getting what we want will never be enough, so instead, I think it’s important to learn sufficiency. Because when we finally get what we wanted, what we thought was going to be incredible, it’s going to let us down.

So wherever you are, young or old, take your time, and be grateful for wherever you are right now. Cease your striving for something more, and instead be grateful for the fact that God has given you another day, another breath. Goals are good, but don’t let them consume you, and don’t let the things that you want become the things that define you—because that only leads to a life of endless struggling and disappointment.

Embrace your innocence, my friends, and be content.

Life Through a Lens

“Let’s go in here!” her friend calls. “I came last week with my friends. It’s kinda grungy, but I bet you’ll love it.”

The doorframe is painted blue and it’s the only thing on the outside that seems like it’s been painted within the last 30 years. As they walk through the door, they’re instantly transported to a different era. The booths are as old and cracked as the faces in them. Everyone glares because, clearly, they don’t belong. It’s eerily silent, the only sound coming from a lonesome radio that’s sound is spiked with static and the scraping of a metal spatula against the exposed grill.

Finally, a boy sitting at the counter speaks to them.

“How are you guys doing?”

In unison, the girls reply: “Fine! How are you?”

Everyone here is so kind, welcoming, helpful. And to think that these were the people that she’d heard people judge before. Sketchy, creepy, stay away.

They leave and she realizes that maybe in the dark she would feel differently, but right now, as the sun beats down on her shoulders, she’s watching the world through a lens. And in her eyes, her lens, it’s all beautiful.

 

Hi friends! So this post is based on a day downtown with my friends. If you wanna see more, feel free to check out my Youtube Channel!

“Arguments should be productive, you know what I mean?”

“People are so passionate that they’re blind to the other side of things,” he says as he tries to make his point. Almost immediately, he adds, “okay, that sounds like I’m saying people shouldn’t be passionate… that’s not what I mean.”

Perhaps what my friend was trying to convey is the reason why the voices that we hear the loudest tend to be the most angry and most one-sided. People are blinded by passion, especially in an argumentative state of mind.

When one thinks of the word “argument,” it’s typical to think of rage, and shouting, and heated disputes. However, the most effective arguments aren’t so.

People aren’t convinced by yelling, or by drilling your point of view through their seemingly thick skulls. Trust me—I’m experienced in the art of losing arguments this way.

Just ask my mother.

To display my point, I ask you to imagine yourself in the midst of an argument. In one scenario, imagine you’re in a screaming match with someone who has an opposing view. In a second, imagine that the person conflicting with you is remaining composed and is open to hearing your opinions and explaining (CALMLY) why they disagree?

Which person is more likely to sway you?

If you answer the first one, I ask you to do some soul searching (and maybe see a therapist, fam—no shame). However, if the second person is more likely to convince you of their argument, why would you ever choose to argue in the first way? Who are you going to convince if you argue this way?

And if you argue that the goal of the argument is not to convince someone of something, then why are you even arguing in the first place?

An effective argument isn’t blind. An effective argument is open to other opinions, and answers skeptical questions—THIS IS WHAT MAKES IT STRONGER!!! If you completely ignore that any other field of thought exists, or if you refuse to try to understand the contrasting side, you’re not only limiting your ability to bring other people to your side in an effective matter, but you’re also making yourself seem so incredibly ignorant.

Do not let your argumentative passion blind you in a detrimental way. If we, as a people, chose to listen to others rather than only speak to hear ourselves, we’d be far better off, and the world would have so much more peace.

I’ve spent a long time trying to understand the art of written argumentation, and that time was so important because I was so bad at it (and really, I still have a long way to go), but the facets of an effective written argument apply to ALL arguments. When it’s done respectfully, people are so much more likely to listen to you, and if you’re choosing to argue at all, that’s the obvious goal.

Add comedy, and fun, and whatever the heck else you want, my friends. (That would probably make your argument even stronger!) Just don’t be so blind that you inhibit yourself, and don’t be so angry that you keep others from wanting to understand you.

“It’s So Fun!”

We huddle into the small room, folding our towels neatly on the benches and making sure our metal jewelry had been removed. We speak in hushed tones that reveal our excitement, and our nerves prove themselves through our hesitation.

Finally, together we shove ourselves into the room on the other side of the door—this room even smaller than the last—and the air is so hot and dry that it burns our lungs. We laugh and screech and feign misery. I would’ve gasped for air if it hadn’t have been so painful.

It’s so dark in the room that I can hardly see across to the other side, the side where the guys had entered and taken their seats.

Soon jokes start from their side about passing out, and remembering the times that they’ve been here before. On our side, the girls’ side, there are complaints about the heat, the air, and rising heart rates.

I’d been in a sauna before, but never one so dry. I keep my mouth closed as my body willingly starts taking shallow breaths. All I can think of is what’s coming next until someone from the other side pulls my focus.

“You’d better be careful in here, Abby. You’re gonna burn three meals worth of calories in here.”

I laugh, and for the first time I realize how little I really have been eating—just a minor downfall of being a vegan on retreat.

As someone comes back in with a pale of water to pour over the coals to create steam, my mind is drawn back to the excitement of it all—the steam was my idea, after all (albeit, a bad one).

As the water hits the coals, he’s forced to jump away from the sizzling liquid. Within seconds, a girl at the top shouts, and after a quick count to three we all run out of the shed, down the pier and into the water.

It feels like ice, and suddenly my whole body is wired. Every sense is on high alert and my skin tightens by the nanosecond. I scream at the shock, but not for fear, for fun. And before I know it we’re all shouting and splashing and laughing so hard that our stomachs hurt.

Before our bodies have a chance to adjust to the cold, we run back into the fire,

and we do it all over again.

Stream of Consciousness: Summer

Every time summer comes around, I’m reminded of how much I love summer.

I love the way the sun feels on my skin, and the way the light glows cooler and greener under the shade of a tree. I love sleeping with the windows open and waking up to sunshine, birds, and wind chimes. I love seeing people running, or going for walks. I love the air of absolute motivation, and the people, people, people.

It’s a time when seasonal depression finally disappears and people smile in front of (and behind) camera lenses, couples laugh as they walk hand-in-hand and children play in the streets.

I don’t know what it is, and I don’t want to know the science behind it—I want to stay mystified by the magic that summer has.

I’ve never, ever considered summer to be my favorite season—autumn has had a special place in my heart since I was a little girl—but this weather has me feeling so incredible. The motivation I’m feeling has led me to compile a list of things that I want I achieve by the end of the summer, and it’s so ambitious that I don’t think I can feasibly finish it all.

But that certainly won’t stop me from trying.

People frown upon unrealistic expectations, they say that you should keep your goals realistic for fear of… well, I don’t know what their fear is of. Living, maybe?

I say that you should set your goals higher than you can see. Why would you ever want to limit yourself? It’s the dreamers—the people who think unrealistically—that achieve the dreams that they never thought would come true, the dreams that others say aren’t “realistic.” We shouldn’t let others decide what is achievable for us because that’s when we’ll let other people sew a deep-rooted fear of failure into our seams, and a fear of failure does nothing but stop you from trying.

So whether your goals are small, summery, seasonal goals (starting a blog, losing weight, reading 10 books, or asking that person out), or your goals are lifetime goals (becoming an author, singing on a stage, or becoming a successful artist or businessperson), I say just go for it.

Because honestly, what’s the worst thing that can happen if you’re pursuing something that you love?

And if you get knocked down? Try, try again.