Monday, December 17, 2012

Return to Yourself

Have you ever heard those little voices in your head and realized they weren't yours? They're tidbits of 'advice' you pick up here and there, designed to make you feel bad about yourself, the direction you're headed, and the choices you've made. They might wear the mask of guidance or friendship, or professional comradery, but when you get them in the light, they reveal themselves for what they are: bullies, designed to tear you down as they build others up. They remind me of spellcheck or grammar check in Microsoft Word, and just like these, you can turn them off. You know how to write. You know the rules. Now write what you want, how you want. Draw what you want. Live how you want. The chance doesn't come around again.

This post didn't come from out of the blue. It's just another reminder, to myself and to you. All of you. Get away from the voices that aren't yours so that you can hear yourself better. Get quiet, get alone, and get back to who you are when those voices aren't badgering you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Good Fridays: Yes, Virginia, You Can Unclutter!

This Friday I have to share with you a book I picked up at the library entitled Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland. I admit, I'm leery of books that make lofty promises or pitch drastic organizational techniques. I often read a little bit of one, try to do what it suggests, and end up burning out, my house and attitude reverting right back to how it was. But this book is different. It doesn't just promise to help you unclutter your house, but to simplify your life so that you enjoy what you have more. It includes your work experiences, your obligations, social interactions, and time management.

Reading this book has actually lifted my mood and given me a goal beyond just getting my house clean: making myself happy. The author suggests that readers envision something that makes them happy to use as inspiration for following the steps in the book. Do you know what my inspiration is? Decorating for Christmas.

I know it might seem small, but I have massive guilt over buying and setting up seasonal decorations. I have a small house, and nowhere to really store anything. No closets or corners for bins. So even if I see something seasonal in the store, I talk myself out of buying it. I envy the sprawling decorations at the library where I work, the decorations outside the houses I pass as I drive home, but I always feel that I can't have them because I have nowhere to put them.
Unclutter Your Life in One Week gives me hope that I can decorate for the holidays just like everyone else. It makes me think of my clutter in small manageable pieces, and offers steps and checklists to help me deal with it. There are even lists to keep me from bringing anything I don't need or can't use into my house. And one of the points on the list includes if the item brings you joy (or helps you "develop the remarkable life you want to live").

I'm still reading this book, but already it's one that I don't want to put down. When I have to return it, I might even buy my own copy (or ask for one for Christmas). It doesn't depress me like other organizational books. It doesn't make me feel inadequate if I don't keep up the cleaning regiment it suggests. It offers a change bigger than the stuff in my house and I love that.

What good thing do you have to share this Friday?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why Jack Frost?

Most of you have heard by now about the Dreamworks movie Rise of the Guardians (and if you haven't, I don't know what rock you've been living under). A lot of you have probably already seen it, and, as one artist on Devianart surmised, probably because of Jack Frost. I'll admit, I'm one of those hooked by the trailers featuring Jack. So, I'm wondering why are people so drawn to him?

Dreamworks has a great version of Jack: a simple design with a lot of personality injected into it. But it's what Jack represents that makes his character so appealing. 60% youth and beauty, 40% freedom and power.

Our society worships youth and beauty. It's heavy in our advertisements, our television shows, the cultures we try to emulate (like Japan). But youth doesn't just include appearance. It also includes a playful attitude, and freedom from consequence that childhood is. Of course, Jack isn't the first to embody this concept.

Freedom and power, coupled with the attitude of a boy about twelve years old - we all know who that reminds us of. It's a strong childhood tie that no marketing can challenge, a concept that's been visited and revisited in many forms since J.M. Barrie first brought the story to life. So, why not bring it back?

I applaud Dreamworks for taking this approach to Jack, since it's one we can't seem to get enough of. The UK has a penchant for turning out larger-than-life, forever young adventurers and it's time America got one of its own.

Girls want to date him and boys want to be him. That's why so many people love Jack Frost. One opinion, anyway.
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