What we can learn from that dress

We may be staring at the exact same thing, yet disagree about the colors. We may just process things differently, not because we’re ignorant or disrespectful, but because of our own physiology and circumstances. (Google it, there’s a lot of people who explain the science of the dress a lot better than I could.)

A lovely story that exemplifies this is The Seven Blind Mice, by Ed Young. In this tale, the mice happen upon a mystery – they find something and set about discovering what it is. Each mouse ventures to guess based upon what they experienced. “A fan,” said one, “A cliff” argued another. Yet they all spoke of the same mystery – and they each had a clue that helped uncover what they could not see on their own.

The aggravating Internet sensation dress has brought many people to questioning reality, even questioning the honesty of those who see things differently. What a great lesson on how different we are, and how we must be slow to assume that what we see is what others see as well.

Also, I see blue and green (green on the lacy looking part). Apparently I’m the only one. Whatev, science, I’m doing my own thing.

Guys I think shadows exist.

The world can be dark. We all have “darkness” of some form within ourselves. Depression, anxiety, sadness…. these plague the lives of all.

But this reality is not horrible. In a drawing it is the shadows that give an image dimension. It is from the negatives a photo develops. It is from the lack of something we realize its gravity in our lives. It is by the losing that we find.

I am overwhelmed by the darkness within and throughout, and the solitary state as it is usually a silent one. To fight states of darkness, how do people generally react? Silence and ignorance.

It is a vital part of our lives, yet we ignore it. When we dance in the day we pretend night is but a dream, and hush anything that may not speak of glorious clarity. And when the night arrives, in his equal splendor and intoxication, I rest in his arms and close my eyes; convinced darkness is all there is, and that even the stars I glimpse are unreal.

Night and day exist. As do shadow and light: Let us remember each, and fight the quiet that endangers us all. Perhaps it is due time we answer with honesty when asked how we are, and due time we ask the same questions with sincerity. Let us cling to hope and truth alike, enabling ourselves to live fully in reality, not only the moment.

Give Up.

“You just… don’t have it.” The renowned violin performer and professor explained this to me, the brutal clarity of his words hitting me like a sledgehammer. The gut wrenching, heart-sinking feeling of discouragement made me feel like I was talking to Simon Conwell.

But I am one stubborn cookie (if there is such a thing) or a tough egg, or something, because his mere opinion shall not break me.

Just for a review, let’s look at some people who have been told to give up what they love:

  • Carey Mulligan was originally advised by Julian Fellowes not to become an actor and to “Marry a lawyer instead”. She later sent him a letter saying that she was serious about it and was invited to a dinner for aspiring actors.
  • Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and started a failing business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure.
  •  Jerry Seinfeld walked on stage at a comedy club, he looked out at the audience, froze and was eventually jeered and booed off of the stage.

A couple of other “failures” include:

  • Henry Ford
  • Lindsay Stirling
  • Isaac Newton
  • Socrates
  • Albert Einstein
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • JK Rowling
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Michael Jordan

And there’s a lot more. (http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/)

I am not one to give up, and this professor’s warning of my impending failure can only push me to excel. He has provided me with a new determination, and I will prove him wrong.

What someone says to you doesn’t really matter half as much as what you choose to do with it.

Don’t hit girls.

Have you seen the adorable video of the little boys in Italy who were asked to hit a young girl? If not, stop now and watch the video.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2OcKQ_mbiQhttp://abc7.com/462246/)

This video is very cute, and it’s sweet that the boys won’t hit the girl. But what disturbs me is some of the widely accepted answers of why they refused to do so. “Because she’s pretty,” says one little boy. “Because she’s a girl.” Said multiple boys.

For many years now little boys throughout Western Culture have been taught that you “don’t hit girls.” Yet abuse and violence towards women is more rampant than ever in Italy. 78 percent of all violence against women in Italy is domestic in nature, and that 31.9 percent of Italian women face physical or sexual violence during their lifetimes.” (http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/tocta/TOCTA_Report_2010_low_res.pdf)

Why then do we continue to think the “Don’t hit girls” formula is a good one? I love the idea of protecting weaker people, who indeed are often women (physically we must not ignore differences). But I think by teaching “don’t hit girls”, we have separated them from the opposite sex so much that it makes it harder for males to empathize with females. I think this concept of an innate, unbridgeable difference becomes built in subconsciously. Brought to the surface later in life, under certain specific circumstances, it can and does prove deadly.

If we truly believe in gender equality, if we truly want teach young men to act honorably, we must teach them not to hit anyone. By using a girls’ sex to protect her, rather than her humanity, we accidentally alienate her from males.

The video ended with a clip of a little boy heroically stating, “’Cause I am a man.” How about, “Because she is a human.”

The Power of Yet

What a weird, confusing blog name. Right? Allow me to explain. As a perfectionist, a theme of my life has been fear of failure, and failure in general. But recently, I have learned a “life hack” of sorts that has helped me not only to accept failure, but also to embrace it.

The worst performances of my life taught me the most. I won’t go into the gory (and mainly pathetic) details of this performance. Skip forward to the drive home, which I spent stuffing Oreos in my face, proclaiming there was no hope for me, and how I should crawl into a hole and live as hermit communicating only through drawings handed out through a hole in my latched door.  But I made it home.  I made it through the week.  And I didn’t stop playing violin, although I did hold a personal grudge against Fritz Kreisler.

I learned that it is from our mistakes we grow the most, and this often in the midst of pain. I think a huge trick in life is to neither ignore nor beat yourself up for your imperfections. Criticisms and mistakes can be discouraging, but by avoiding people and situations that present them, we forgo a chance to rapidly improve.

I hope my life portrays a willingness and desire to change for the better in every domain. So it seems appropriate that this blog, snapshots from my journey, should be named “The Power of Yet.”

Here is an inspirational TED Talk by Carol Dweck which successfully articulates “The power of yet”. I strongly recommend everyone watch it. http://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve?language=en Also, I googled “The Power of Yet” and found this great song from Sesame Street. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLeUvZvuvAs

Respect

Whether or not you agree with another individual, I believe you should respect their opinions.   Everyone believes what he or she does for a reason. Experiences, circumstances, and culture shape belief systems. If you were to step outside of what you know, and attempt to understand someone else, you may find something incredible.   Yes, even from the staunch atheist. Yes, even from the close-minded Christian. And from the Muslim, and Buddhist, and Hindu…

I’m not saying that each of them is “right”, but I also don’t think it’s an issue of “right” or “wrong”. I think it’s about humans, and loving other humans regardless what they believe. Loving them enough to open your ears and see what they believe, and to find similarities in religions instead of pointing out differences and contradictions. You may learn from them, just as they may learn from you.  It must be a two-way conversation.   Talking at each other instead of to each other is incredibly counterproductive.

By showing a basic human respect, we rise above the childish attitude of who got the grade, and open ourselves to God’s speaking to us through literally anyone. I believe He’s actually that powerful, by the way. I am seeking out truth, and I believe many people hold fragments of it. Different perspectives, different interpretations, but remnants of a universal reality of a love so great it overcomes all.

I think it’s crazy (and impossible) to  agree with everyone. But I also think it’s crazy to believe you are the only one who really knows what’s going on.

Even if you totally disagree with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Unless they are anti cat and Nutella. 🙂