Love And Respect

Would you rather be loved or respected? Why?

This is a difficult question. The answer most people want to give is love. “All you need is love.” Right? It’s the easy answer. We all want to feel loved. We all want to spend every day knowing that someone thought about us or someone missed us. It’s an essential part of our existence. That is exactly why I’m going to argue for the word respect.

That’s a term we hear all the time. “Respect your elders. Respect your peers. Show some respect.” But do we spend every day thinking, “I really wish someone respected me?” We do more than we realize. As an aunt, I know that I want my nieces and nephews to respect me as their elder. As a sister, I know that I want my siblings to take me seriously, and not only view me as their little sister. As a daughter, I want my parents to respect the person I’ve gown into, because I want them to be proud of me. I want my peers to respect me, because if they don’t, I become a joke to them. We look for respect all the time, we just don’t see it that way because we’re blinded by the word love.

We can have someone tell us that they love us, but if they don’t respect us, they aren’t going to treat us right. Even with my nieces and nephews, I’ve seen it happen. I know that they love me with all their hearts, but they don’t execute those feelings well, because sometimes they say things that hurt my feelings. I know that my siblings love me, but sometimes I feel like they take advantage of that, because they only need me when it’s convenient for them. I know that I’m loved, but I don’t always know that I’m respected.

If I could only choose being loved or respected, I think I’d want to choose respected. People can’t show you respect unless they care to some degree, even a stranger has to be kind in order to show respect. But you can love someone without always showing them respect. In a world that exists on human interaction, and a world that doesn’t consistently show love enough, I want to choose respect. I want to choose it, because on a day to day basis, it makes me feel better knowing someone respects me simply be being kind. I don’t hear the words “I love you” twenty times a day, although I know someone out there does. But I do interact with people on a smaller level every day, and I still want to be treated kindly when that happens.

Lucky for us, we live in a world where we don’t have to choose between love and respect. We should show both all the time.

 

One Object

This prompt comes from edutopia.org.  You can save one object before your house burns down. What is it? What makes that object important to you?

In a choice between every object I own, I would probably save my computer. Not because of an addiction to technology, but because it is my lifeline to my writing. There’s something about allowing my hands to freely type across a keyboard that allows me to say the things I need to, even if I don’t know what I’m saying yet. I have so many files saved from so many different stories, poems, and prompts that I would feel devastated to lose. My computer basically goes everywhere with me, because there’s always inspiration and a need to write. I have worked too hard on the pieces I have saved, finished and unfinished. My pieces of writing are a part of me, and I’d feel like I lost something huge if I didn’t have them anymore.

There’s a lot of sentimental things in my house, gifts from people, souvenirs from places I’ve been, or books I’ve collected, and I would be devastated to lose each and every one of them. But if I couldn’t hold on to the pieces of writing that have become a part of who I am, I believe it’d make me feel like I lost a part of myself.

Mirror, Mirror

This prompt comes from thinkwritten.com What if your mirror started talking to you? What might the mirror say?

“Don’t be afraid. Come closer. Take a good long look. Compliment yourself. I shouldn’t have to do if for you.”

On some level, I think we’re all a little afraid of the mirror. Really, I think we’re afraid of what we’ll see in the mirror. I try to avoid it as much as I can. I spend so much time telling myself that I don’t care what other people think. It’s true, for the most part. I don’t wear makeup. I rarely wear dresses. I wear my hair down 95% of the time. I dress for comfort, and I tell myself that it’s enough. Most of the time, it is. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from running my fingers through my hair when someone starts talking to me.

But even though I can go out in public dressed in a sweatshirt, tennis shoes and a messy bun, I hate looking in the mirror and discovering that it’s all I’m going to see. I don’t care what others think, but on some level, I care about what I think. If my mirror could talk to me, it would try to boost my self-esteem, telling me that I shouldn’t worry. Yet, somehow, I think that reassurance would only make me avoid the mirror more. I don’t take compliments well. I don’t even like the idea of a fictional compliment, such as my mirror doing so. So I avoid it when I can. But when I do look in the mirror, it’s brief. I always manage a sigh, knowing it’s as good as it’s going to get, even when I know I could try harder. I simply don’t want to try harder, because I’m not here to impress anyone.

Some days I wish I wasn’t even trying to impress myself.

Never Forget

Today’s prompt is in memory of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.

I was only in the fourth grade. We were sitting in our classroom, when one of the staff members entered the room and told my teacher to turn on the television, because the North Tower of the World Trade Center had been hit. We watched in horror as the news reported the awful attack and witnessed the South Tower getting struck. I remember the feeling of dread, the feeling of sadness for all the people that had just died. But I was only in the fourth grade, and I couldn’t understand why it happened. I couldn’t even understand the depth of sadness and fear our country felt.

Since then, I have visited the site of the World Trade Center multiple times. I went in 2009, when the place was under construction and the aftermath was still very real. It was the first time I truly felt the weight of what happened, seeing it before my eyes.

I went back to visit the memorial, while the One World Trade Center was being built. It was overwhelming to be there, but the sight of the new tower looked promising. This summer, I had the experience of visiting the memorial again and I finally understood the magnitude of what happened. At the base of the South Tower, that I had once watched crumble, I read the names of the victims and felt this deep sense of loss. I finally understood. The images of the television screen in my fourth grade classroom came to mind and I could almost see the chaos on the streets before me. Chaos that once happened where I stood. I was overwhelmed, and I finally understood that depth of emotion. It took me seventeen years, but I finally felt what the sheltered walls of a little girl’s mind kept from me.

From there, I went up to the top of the One World Trade Center. With the island of Manhattan below me, I felt like I had accomplished something, that we had accomplished something. I had seen the site at its worst, with nothing but destruction, and I had seen the site from 102 stories in the air, rising above that memory of destruction. We have come so far. We have rebuilt, and that feeling of unity and understanding can be felt at the memorial.

This tragic event still sits with us to this day, and I am grateful for the journey I have been on, that has led me to fully mourn as a little girl. Today is a day to reflect, to remember those we lost, to pray for their families, to honor the heroes that picked up our broken pieces, and to remember that we are united.

Never Forget.

Handwritten Notes

This prompt comes from pw.org for poets and writers. “Write a personal essay about how your own handwriting has changed from childhood, through adolescence and adulthood. What memories are brought to mind when looking at your old handwriting? Perhaps try handwriting the first draft of your essay to help connect back into this practice.”

When I was a child, even I couldn’t read my own handwriting. It was a mess. Ididn’tputspacesbetweenmywords and although I tried hard to write my letters neatly, it just couldn’t be done. It didn’t change much as I grew older. Because I knew my teachers struggled with the lack of spacing, I did manage to correct that problem. More legible, but still difficult to read.

When we started learning cursive, things only got more complicated. I loved writing in cursive, because I thought it looked pretty, but it became even more difficult to read my writing. I may as well have been leaving no spaces between my words. Even when I did use print, I made some of my letters loopy like cursive letters. I remember my mom commenting on the tails of the letter t and the way I formed a loop under the g. I didn’t change it though. I thought my half cursive style was unique for me, and I didn’t want to be like everyone else.

When technology became a thing, we all stopped writing. My stories scribbled in journals were typed, notes turned into IM messages,  letters turned into text messages, and homework assignments were typed. I suppose some of the teachers thought it was easier than deciphering the poor handwriting of a high school student.

On the occasions that I did write, I stopped taking the time to make it look decent, even though it never was, and I just wrote. No fancy looping, just a mess. I didn’t. I could read it (for the most part) and that was the important thing. Not much has changed since then. I can barely read my writing. In comparison to my sister’s perfect handwriting, I look like an eight year old wrote in my notebooks. And unless someone else is reading it, this doesn’t bother me so much. I apologize to others but never to myself, because I know my handwriting will never compare to my sister’s handwriting, and that’s okay.

We’re all unique. Our hands aren’t meant to copy one another, because they each belong to individual people with individual talents. My handwriting is not perfect, but it never was, and the little girl with the curvy letters would be okay with that, so I should be too.