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Thoughts on Stargirl

I am not sure if the novel Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is as thought-provoking as I make it out to be, or it just happened that I read it at a time when my brain wanted to work. Anyway, I thought Stragirl was a wonderful read and here are a few thoughts I have about the book (well not really about the story but more on the themes that it incorporated in the story):

 

First thought:  A lot of people tend to hate people who are different. The majority tends to despise the non-conformists because well, they are different. But in my understanding, the root of this is because non-conformists tend to live in such a different manner from most people and yet they look completely satisfied with their lives and if you were standing on the other side, you might just feel really unhappy. Why? I can think of two.

  • One:  they are completely happy and you’re not exactly feeling the same way, which gives you an idea that what you are doing with your life is wrong.
  • Two: people have a constant association of being different from one another to being disagreeable with each other.  We often feel like if the other person is in many ways different from us, it would be impossible to get along, which could lead to misunderstanding and ultimately hate. We often cling to this assumption too much that we let it destroy our chances of actually getting to like someone.

Second thought: People so often fall in love with fantasies and they chase after it but at the same time, they are afraid of the actual encounter. I have heard and read so many times how people long for the fairy tale story, getting to meet the princess or the knight in shining armor but whenever they do arrive we run away from the situation and at worst condemn the person for being unrealistic(unfitting in our little realities). Having met Stargirl in this novel, I have constantly felt like she is one of those Disney princesses, kind, happy, optimistic, and gentle and definitely one who stands out from the sea of people yet despite all of these, people would actually hate her. I think it is curious how many of us would actually aspire to have these descriptions attributed to ourselves and yet end up hating the actual thing. Maybe because we still think that such things are so unattainable that we regard anything that comes close as unreal, not true, a fake or perhaps because we are so focused on the reality of things that we deny such magic and difference to be a part of our lives, because somewhere in the back of our minds we cling to the thought that such things will never fit and shouldn’t. Why? I have no idea.

Third thought:  Do I love Stargirl? No. Do I hate her? No. I think Stargirl as a character is very admirable and I think the ending to this story was inspirational. Having the weird girl, who was shunned by everybody, become the best memory of people was magical and beautiful and I am truly happy that the author gave some justice to the kindness and pure-heartedness of Stragirl by making her into the miracle that their high school needed but at the same time I do not want to be a hypocrite about all of these.  I think it is amazing that Stargirl is the kind of person who is not afraid to be 100% truly who she is whatever the situation may be. I actually find it really admirable since I know that I can never achieve that. Though, I think that I am very much like Leo. I cannot lie to myself and say that I do not care about what other people think, because I do. It is not the wisest thing to say but I do believe that we cannot just live by our own rules. We cannot live like the world is for ours to take. There is a limitless amount of liberty and honesty that comes with living fully the way you are, but the truth still remains that the world is not ours. There are billions of others living with us and when we always live to the extent of our freedom, someone is bound to get stepped on. People prefer to live their life in different ways, none more accurate than the others, and that for me is the reason to consider the existence of norms.  Not to be pro conformity, I just believe that existing in this world is not limited to discovering oneself, living out your own life and making memories to keep. It is also about existing with other people, and though staying true to who you are is always a good thing, we also have to conform once in a while so that others can have a space to live the way they want to.

 

 

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The Introvert’s Way: Living a quiet life in a noisy world

The Introvert’s Way : Living a quiet life in a noisy world  by Sophia Dembling

The Introvert’s way book cover

It’s hard to make people understand what you are and what you aren’t feeling when you are an introvert. Most of the time I struggle to express myself or behave comfortably because I worry that people will find my actions unacceptable because it does not go along with the hypothetical social norms. To be honest, I am quite tired of feeling sorry about the way I am. I am an introvert, not an extrovert. It may not be the more acceptable disposition for most people but it does not mean that there is something wrong with me. Some of us are introverts, some are extroverts. Neither of the two is wrong. People are different from each other and it makes the world interesting.

With all that said, I am thankful that I have found affirmation from this book written by Sophia Dembling. It has helped me accept my introversion in so many levels. Through the insights, incidents and narratives in this book, I have found the comfort that I am looking for — there are others who are a lot like me and can understand my behavior, unlike most people in my surroundings. It has taught me how to embrace my introversion and my fellow introverts without any hint of condemnation for extroverts. So thank you Ms. Dembling (and to the person who did the cover and made me interested in this book). You have made this introvert feel less alone in this world.

From the book:

AFFIRMATIONS FOR INTROVERTS

Staying home is doing something. Time spent alone is not negative space. It has its own purpose, both in what you do with it and in what it does for you.

My presence is a gift, not a requirement. If you receive an invitation to do something that doesn’t sound fun, you might choose to do it anyway. And that would be very nice of you. But you don’t have to.

I like who I like. You are not required to like everyone, and just because you don’t like everyone doesn’t mean you hate people. It’s not your problem if a person is a bore or a boor.

Listening to bores is not my job. Just because you’re a good listener doesn’t mean you are obligated to listen to anyone who wants to bend your ear. Your listening skills is a gift to be bestowed on only the deserving. You owe it to yourself and loved ones to preserve your limited energy for them and not waste it on people you don’t like.

Managing my energy is a favor to myself and everyone around me. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re being mean when you step away from the fun. They obviously don’t know how cranky you get if you push yourself too hard.

Saying no can be a kindness. If you say no to them, they may say no to you. Sooner or later they will realize what a blessing the freedom to say no is. Plus, if you say yes when you want to say no, you probably won’t present your best self and you might not be much fun.

I can love other people and still not be responsible for their good time. Sometimes you will do things you don’t want to just as a kindness to someone you love. But you don’t have to do that all the time.

Just because I am quiet doesn’t mean I have nothing to say. Some people are raconteurs who can hold a room full of people in their thrall. If you’re not, oh well. You have plenty to say when the time and circumstances are right for you.

I know what I need better than anyone else. Yes, they love you. Yes, their intentions are good. Yes, sometimes their suggestions are useful. But even your most intimate intimates don’t know you better than you know yourself and you are allowed to weigh their suggestions against your self-knowledge and dismiss them if they don’t feel right. No fuss and confrontation necessary, just stay centered and calm and own your own choices.

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204 years of Edgar Allan Poe

Today marks the 204th year of Edgar Allan Poe, and though he may not be present anymore ( physically), his words have lived through the years and his wisdom still continues to inspire many around the globe. E.A. Poe lived a sad and quite tragic life but he was wise enough to put in writing the best  moments of his existence. And all his words, and rhymes and sorrows are his gifts to the world for the rest of time.

Here are my favorite works from the legendary Edgar Allan Poe, which I consider very beautiful works of art — I hope you can say the same.

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Tell Tale Heart

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Reading classics – Edgar Allan Poe

I haven’t really read in a while. I never really found the time in the last couple of weeks, which is exactly why I’m trying to make up for it by starting to read again this week. And on top of my want-to-read list right now is our leather-bound copy of “The complete tales and poems of Edgar Allan Poe” . It’s a really big, really thick book and it would probably take me a year to finish, but a tiny dose everyday can’t hurt.

What I’ve read so far: The introduction (basically a brief summary of edgar’s life, which is not as boring as I thought it would be) and a few poems, which surprisingly are not scary or wrapped up in death and somehow kind of romantic, but still really good.

Here are a few of my favorite lines so far…

I have no word-alas-to tell
the loveliness of loving well

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And she would mark the opening skies
I saw no heaven-but in her eyes

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I have been happy, tho’ in a dream.
I have been happy-and I love the theme:
Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life,
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality which brings
To the delirious eye, more lovely things
Of Paradise and Love-and all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known

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What could there be more purely bright
In Truth’s day-star?