Tuesday, October 9, 2012

In Nature's Truth

There's something to be said for the natural inclination of character that is not afraid of the awkward but proactively seeks the kind. The very being of humans who seek to be good, do justice, have mercy and walk humbly seem few and far between these days. Perhaps this is what makes the gravity of finding them, be-friending them, or just knowing of them so heavy in my mind.

The gracious acts of kind friends recently reminded me that character, above all else, is the essence of a reputation in life. This may seem like an easy conclusion to make, but I think that so often we are bombarded with the branding of a person before we are confronted with their being.

There is virtue in the genuine essence of character of a person. A virtue which has become lost in the maze and haze of people choosing to define and incline their lives toward elements, images and representations that do nothing more for them than create cheap knock offs of people.

We hear it all the time, it's become white noise to our heads and our hearts: we're becoming delegates of brands, of message, of advertisers' dreams. We're losing our identities in a world where a bite out an apple signifies wealth and being effortlessly cool. Where dark pieces of plastic over your eyes can shield you from conversation or looking like you care.

The thing is that's it's not happening in a material existence, it's happening in the evolution of personalities and character too. We may belligerently use physical emblems of culture but we use regurgitated values and characteristics too. It's almost become accepted to be intolerant, rude, or brash with people. Acting foul mouthed and furied is fine because "you're a go getter who knows what you want". Ignoring people is fine because "it would be awkward to talk to them anyway" is happening. That person, with the smile, who is always interested in engaging in conversation is now an image of the past, a gimmick in the present, a vintage in the future.

Which is why I say it again, there's something to be said for the natural inclination of character that is not afraid of the awkward but proactively seeks the kind.

We live not just in a material existence where we play games of monopoly with our stuff, but now we manipulate the virtue of character for the gain of self. The excuse of exhaustion or accidental ignorance has become our currency and yet we wonder why life just isn't how it used to be. Or why life 50 years ago seemed so much sweeter than it does now.

Engaging in grace and humility, assuming to be meek but standing up for what's bold and courageous has become a bit of a joke. Which is unfortunate, because the quality of life that exists by these standards far outweighs the life that is defined by retched skews of character that have the self as centre and the heart of others as an afterthought.

The friends who have grace, who have smiles, whose hearts are filled not just with love but gregarious laughter and encouraging affair are the friends who inspire me to do better. Imagine, just think, if we were to each engage in being such a person, the affect it would have on each other, and the effect it would have on the world we're living in.

When time begins to slow and light starts to fade, it's the essence of someone's character that is what you remember about them. Their reputation may be found in their possession, but it's built on their character. Long live the kind, long live the true, long live the humble and long live the gracious.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I often wonder what my generation will be remembered for. Thoughts go to the obvious: Jersey Shore, the iRevolution, skinny jeans, cat videos on YouTube. These are all of merit in themselves, sure, but I think there'll be one thing in particular that will lay claim to the years that stand before me, and the people I grow up with: the so called impermanence of our youth.

YOLO. Live While We're Young. Die Young. Forever Young. Young Money, many more and something like that.

You've heard it before, and I'm sure, to your chagrin, these statements continue to be repeated and sold out to as many crowds as possible. Via retweets, FB likes and heart stamps on an instagram photo, the complete absolution in the value of today and disregard of tomorrow has become the definition of action for my generation.

With confession I admit that I'm guilty of it too. More often than I'd be proud of I've permitted to do things under the guise and wisdom of YOLO - you only live once. Using this as my motivator, it became enough to commit any action I wanted to. Which is an unfortunate thing to confess.

Although I think YOLO has it's contexts within audacious and precocious settings, as a motto it stands on pretty shaky ground. It's use and entire atmos is wrapped in irony. That one would use the logic of living once to perform erratic acts is paradoxical because the risk of loss is high: living once is all you have, and yet that you'd engage in preposterous gains because of it is skewed logic.

The unfortunate thing, is that whether we're attempting to escape it or not, the motto of an impermanent youth is deriding our every outlet. Look at your top ten selling singles and you'll see songs about living, dying and being young, and using that as a platform for living, dying, and being whoever you want to in all it's blissful, short sighted, mediocrity.

This, is what my generation will be remembered for.

If living once became the call to deliberate action then I too, would be promulgating it's catchy phrase success. If taking stock of the one life you have meant waking up every morning with a promise to do better and a heart to love more was what YOLO meant then I'd too yell it out into the dark late at night. I get that it's cool to not care but I also get that it's shallow too. I've experienced waking up and pretending like nothing matters and it's always ended with me falling asleep in melancholy because it is who you are, not what it is, that makes the life you lead. The person I want to be lives in a bigger story than "all that matters is now and that's all I need to care about cos, YOLO".

Living young is not pretending to be in love for the sake of the day's end but it's living young at heart, wise in soul, truth in mind. Living once is not any justification for insolence, intolerance, or stupidity. Living once is definitely not justification for whatever hook up, break up, or smash up that life could bring you.

I'd prefer to live once and live well. It beguiles me that the identity for a good life is found in the pits and pastures of rookie mistakes and drunken shenanigans, not in the visions of a deliberate humanity or edifying existence.
Life in it's youth can be just as wholly fulfilled without going "crazy crazy crazy till we see the sun" (thank you One Direction), although I'm sure bemused behaviour till sunrise is a great way to spend the night it doesn't dignify your life's definition.

Defining your life will hopefully revolve around a larger vision than the end of today; because you really do only live once. And living once is legitimate grounds for living deliberately, with conviction and with high regard for the breaths you've been given.

Who knows, maybe I'm getting old (so old), or maybe I'm becoming wise (so wise). Either way, I'm taking my being off the road of youthful belligerence and granting myself the dignity of a truthful, honest attempt at the one gorgeous life I've been given.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pick a Frame

It seems every 6 weeks or so I enter a deep and cavernous riot of thinking that is bound by one question: blonde, or brunette?

It's that simple, and yet such dichotomy has forced hours of bent frustration and quizzical stares into the mirror in the hope that a resolution is secured.

Unfortunately I've yet to make up my mind. And so I am currently settled on the lighter hue as I continue to fumble my way through the shaping of my identity and inherently the shaping of my face in terms of determining who I am.

Who am I? Heaven knows. Truly, heaven only knows; I've come to assume that upon my final ascent I'll eventually be able to look down and with the beauty of hindsight and a great 'ka-rumph' in my brain, I will hopefully be able to work out who I am.

Until then, I'm forging on the in the tableau of pop culture looking for some form of heavy material to hold onto, tug on, or sit on, in the hope that it will be my final definitive stance that declares who I am.

Being a 20 year old female in the current state of pop has recognised a few situations at hand. The regurgitated blonde or brunette question comes to stand for more than just the shade of my hair, but the shade of my being. Being a blonde, it seems, stands for having more fun, a whimsical musicality in my step and a sheer shade of inherent naivety (or so I've been told). A brunetter is darker, inherits elements of broodiness and copes through things with indignant stares and powerful hues of human nature (or so I've been told).

Or, perhaps, is this a whole pile of complete crap and instead a farcicle attempt by the powers that be to determine greater meanings to menial elements in life, all so we buy in, dig deep, own up and spend big on things that indeed have no greater value for us than the next type of copy that 'defines who we are'. (Purely a rhetorical suggestion, for we all now know how being duped is a natural characteristic of a human in the western world these days).

I'm constantly enamoured by the world of fame, celebrity and popularity. Not for the matter that I want to be them, but for the matter of what the 'media' prescribes to such people. It seems a small statement of colour, an image showing smile or restraint, becomes an overbearing marker for the greater person in totality.

It's interesting because we, us mundane movers and makers of the 'normal' world, do exactly the same. The frame we place on people is just as harsh, just as scrutinising and just as trivial as that of the big names. Only our thoughts aren't printed on tabloids or pushed through internet sites. And thank goodness for that.

The idea of the 'frame' is something that intrigues me so much. I believe we are put in frames just as much we put ourselves in them. Conscience choices of the self make for a conscience choice of the frame of self. My choice for blonde hair has fallen among many lines but lately, for the most, older and I believe wisest part has come from a place of laid back honesty: I like being blonde. I have lost the care for what it means to be it, I just like being blonde.

This runs under the same frame of my dressing. Hours of my life have been scored in the mirror in fret for what people may define me as by the state of my ensemble. However this frame of conscience just showed the fear of a person who lived under the value of such thinking that the image of dress could be the only definitive element of an entity.

Now, I get dressed how I believe I, a woman of my age, nature, and character should dress. How I, Eden should put herself together. I get it wrong about 70% of the time but my frame sits right. I can be seen through it.

About a week ago, I lay with my head in a basin as my hairdresser washed the blonde highlighter colour out my hair. Across from me was a great big gray wall, marked only by the few stains of hair colour that had accidentally made their way onto it previously. For a salon that boasts so much about the sprucing of the self, the valour of one's ego and the glory of looking good, I couldn't help but feel like this wall was letting me down. The mild streaks of fallen colour seemed only errant reminders of the forged meaning of beings that were being sprouted in front of the salon mirrors. Where was the great big motivational saying, that inspired the self? For five minutes of warm watered washing, I was in limbo between the putting on of the new and the blowing out of the old. Within the expanse of gray, I was forced with the truth that at the end of it all, blonde or brunette, my name was Eden. I was a 20 year old human being who, despite what shade my hair was, no colour could actually change my being.

There is a verse in the psalms that I enjoy. "My heart is steadfast... my heart is steadfast". It's a saying that boasts a steadiness of heart. It sung out to me because of the very bare nature of it's call. It's not proclaiming glory in an image, it's not inducing jealousy in a sound. It's a truthful declaration in the steadfast nature of heart.

This truth of heart is the frame in which I want to be seen in. Sure, I make an effort to have nice hair, wear nice clothes, choose nice shoes. However the gray imminence of the salon wall showed that despite the fanfare going on around it, you cannot escape that images have shadows and the pop of culture has to burst at some point.

After this epiphany I can only hope that I daily choose this frame to live in. It will be a task repeated every morning, and no doubt, I will choose wrongly at times. But through it all I hope to truly stand upon the proclamation that my heart is steadfast, yes my heart is steadfast.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Good Fight

I was born with a heart for justice built into the core of my being. The line between right and wrong is ever clear in my eyes and always present in situations, people, and propositions.

It wretches me to see people go by without so much as a reprimand for their ill consorts or their mismatched actions. I have lost sleep, lost breath, lost heart over the accomplishments of the wicked and the success of the incorrect.

My compassion goes awry in the face of wrongdoing. In truth I have little compassion to begin with, but what I do have turns into an indignant torrent of speech that illuminates the misgiving and demands the groveling apology that SHOULD be given by those guilty of their grievance.
In my mind, I'm right.
In truth, in the eye of the peaceful and wise, I'm also being a horrible person.

It burdens me so, to know that maybe (maaaybe) my fight for justice is the least of things in a grander scheme of life. That my inability to trust and give compassion is no fault of the person's wrong doing but perhaps just a reflection on the character of mine.

Yuck. I shiver to think that I could actually be the one that needs to give the apology: all I'm doing is fighting for what's right. And that's good, yeah? I'm the better person then, yeah?


I've recently been trying to learn a lesson on humility, and the genuine essence of character. I say trying because it's truly been an effort that I feel like I'm failing more than anything. However what I've got so far is that a character of admirable integrity is one that is steadfast and true. True to something far beyond the being of themselves.

What I also realised in my battle for justice is that far too often the line of right and wrong lay on land that wasn't mine to fight on. The land had underlying roots and rots that I was in no place to account for and certainly no place to call out from.

The constant process of realizing injustice and then painstakingly having to pull myself away from the point of proving was hard. Is hard. I'm still not good at it.

Teaching my head and heart the difference between what is right and what is best is a harder task than one might imagine. Well, for me at least. Perhaps it should be easier, but you tell that to the supreme court system I've got in session in my head.

However the truth I've chosen to prescribe to seems to go beyond the least of actions and applies the beauty of grace to the matter; a beauty of grace which I'm still trying to master the art of. However I seem to be stuck in the battle of the self and it's rights against the canvas of compassion.

Friends have taken to chuckling at my pursual of the good fight. The hours I've probably clocked up in their faces describing exactly what is wrong, who did it, how it should have happened, and how it should be fixed is probably in the hundreds by now. Most importantly, despite the accuracy of my calls for justice my fight has gained me nothing. In honesty it's probably lost me the integrity of my character because despite what good my argument was, the illuminance of my indignance and haughty claims really just left me red faced and stubborn.

I wish I had the peace and grace to see everyone as the very best of their being and leave it at that, and I certainly do try to, but it's a constant battle on an increasing gradient to be benevolent.

I do not feel embarrassed or ashamed of the passion for justice I harbour, I feel embarrassed for how I choose to express it. It's not pleasant, or nice, or representative of the character I wish to possess. And though I am still a firm believer in being right (who knows if this indignant value will ever leave me) I also want to be a believer in the best of people, in the motion that denies a balance of beings and instead says "it's okay" and let's it go.

Perhaps my stubborn fear of allowing someone to get away with something still needs more work to be conquered, but at least at I'm at the point of realisation. I will probably still lose sleep over it, I will probably still feel the fire of injustice sweep across my chest as my cheeks burn and my brain spins. It happens, like clockwork, so often. Yet I still can't manage to stop the cogs from moving and throw a spanner in the works of plausible frustration. If only the peace of grace would rescue me in my fiery dispositions! Hopefully, fingers crossed and heart on the line it will.

Every day injustice is created and despite my efforts, I cannot fight it all. And as I have come to realise, sometimes the wars I fight in aren't even necessary battles. It is what it is, and 'it' needs to 'be', whether I agree or not.

To justice I raise my glass, to injustice, I raise my glass too (with a grimace, but also with hope).


Monday, July 16, 2012

The big two oh.

About two and a half months ago I wrote a post lamenting at my oncoming birthday and frantically attempting to decipher meaning out of the last two months of my teenaged life.

I appreciated where I was, but I hoped, so desperately, that I would appreciate where I would be after my birthday more. I also, somehow, taught myself the delusion that at the turn of the clock, and my turn of age everything would make sense and I wouldn't have to worry anymore. Oh to be young and naive.
And for that naive, youthful state to be less than three months ago.

So. What have I got to claim? My previous lament was the ongoing of 'half days', those days lived with half of myself, half of my energy, and half of my output. I really, was truly half of a being wandering from post to post attempting life's obstacles and being obscured by my failure.

I can, with a cheeky grin and a faintly heard sigh, admit that I'm living more. Although I can't account for full days, I can account for days that deservedly require rest at the end of them. How exactly I've gone from half to near full is a question of itself; my best attempt at summation (which I will, no doubt, disagree with in a month's time) is that I've become to live deliberately.

This was neither a self learned or 'deep moment of meditation' moment of realisation for me. I didn't wake up one morning and see the world 'deliberate' etched in the atmos of my room. Instead I noticed the essence of deliberate living in others, in friends who'd I'd recently engaged with, in relations, in communication, and saw how it permeated more than conversations. A deliberate being does not merely attend, speak to, watch or hear. To be deliberate is to engage, discuss, keenly observe, and listen. It is to this point that I curtsey and thank my friends. The friends who sat with me and listened to my pieces, my prose, my rants, and taught me that genuine engagement goes beyond a truthful encounter, but can change, and deepen meanings of other interactions. From their genuine beings I saw sign posts to the track of life I was meant to be on. I'm still learning, and I think, in truth, that they are still too. However treacherous the path we choose to travel though, an ability to earnestly look alongside another deliberate being is a treasured one.

What else did my last skip of teenagehood teach me? It taught me that I'm good at something, and that is enough to smile about. But it also taught me that just smiling about something gets you nowhere. If I want to smile about my writing for the rest of my life then a round of applause please. I've made it.
But I'm not a smiler. I'm a writer. I'm quite sure that blood doesn't run through my veins, but instead small figures of the alphabet, coursing and pumping my eyes until they're ravaged with hell bent frustration.
I can't just sit at home, in my room, and assume that my dreams will come true with no effort of my own. I have to work. And this is my declaration of it. Much to my chagrin. I can't kid myself that I'm the next big thing when all I have to account for is half hearted attempts to try. All or nothing. In truth or not at all.

I've become less let down by myself, and instead let down at my reactions to situations, opportunities, elements and people. Which at least shows an improvement in my self and an effort to be more aware of this self. I've endeavoured to be positive, to do simple things such as eat healthier, make better choices, and even, despite my inward volatility, find an agreeable nature in those I can find in such great contempt.

I went through unforseeable disappointments. My skin became abhorrent, and my anxiety returned, as well as old haunts of ghosts from teen dilemmas past. However I found myself of firmer ground, much firmer than the night of April 21, when the oncoming approach of the big 2-0 proved a push too far. Yet here I am. A couple weeks late on posting nearer the big day, but I can say I survived my teenage years. I survived! A few bruises and scars but I'm an adult now, equipped with stories, lessons learned, and elements of life happily achieved.

And here it has started, although in all honesty who's to know if it's even properly begun. But here we go 20s. Come at me now.