The following are pieces written by my Writing 121 students this fall. They are required to publish something online or to give public reading of one of the essays they wrote for class
Singing In the Rain
Childhood, oftentimes, can have different connotations. For me childhood brings a flood of memories. One of these memories is walking together as a family. When I was younger we always went on walks together; it was just a thing that we did. Â Being the homeschool family that we were, it was usually a walk to our local library. It was always a blast knowing that we get to walk to the library since my childhood home was just a few minutes away. One memory that seems to stand out the most is a walk or (run) in the rain. When I was about eight years old, my family decided to take a stroll to yep, you guessed it, the library. It started out Â just like any other time we walked; my brother would snap on his â€œMaterâ€ helmet, complete with a large cartoon picture of â€œMaterâ€ from the movie â€œCars,â€ and attempt to ride his little green bike slow enough to stay close to us, which was quite the feat for an active six-year-old little boy. So, with that, we began our little jaunt. There we were walking along our little chip-sealed road, like we had done so many times before. The sun was shining down on us, and we were enjoying the crisp, cool, springtime air. But, the weather was beginning to look a little rough, the clouds were looking dismal in the sky, but we crossed the sloped, grassy path that led to the library, and collected our books. My mother always carried a white denim book bag to bring home these literary treasures. Because we knew a rainstorm could ensue, we quickly checked out our items and set out for home again. Â Within seconds the icy cold rain began to pour. It was not just a light sprinkle either. It was like a torrential downpour ensued. We ran! It was all such a blur. We walked, then ran, then sped down the road like flailing children running in a huddle back towards home. Singing and laughing along the way. We didn't seem to notice that our clothes were quickly soaking and it was freezing cold! It is very normal for all of us to act crazy and embarrass ourselves. So, thatâ€™s what we did. My dad began singing and we all joined in! My brother was sloshing and skidding through the puddles like a maniac, and that added to the excitement of the gray, cloud-filled afternoon. Our nice serene experience turned crazy, but memorable. I still wonder what our neighbors thought of us! Once we reached our house the insanity slowly began to diminish. We all went into the garage and tried to remove our sopping wet shoes and peeled off our stuck-on socks. In my house we are not allowed to wear shoes inside, so, if we wanted in, the shoes had to come off. Once the shoe battle was won, we entered our home, and recounted the events of the day. Who knew that a fun little trip to the library would end in such chaos! I guess those are the things you never can expect to happen, and that is what made it so memorable. So, if you get caught in a rainstorm don't forget to sing in the rain!
From Victim to Victor
As a warm-hearted person and a hater of injustice, I observe my abusive, mean-spirited ex-husband and find it incredible that personalities vary so much. Moreover, I find it baffling that someone could hurt others as he does but brilliantly cover it up in blaming others for his actions. Interestingly, his schemes work for the most part. But they won’t forever. Criminals persist in their illegal activities, yet the damage they’ve done piles up and takes notice and will eventually sway the authorities to step in. Not only that, but one must take into account where we came from, where we are going; there is a creator behind the scenes who observes all.
Therefore, I put my trust in Him, the Creator, my redeemer who turns everything that was meant for evil into good for those who know Jesus as their Savior. I have confidence then, that though some characters plot, and destroy, these same characters on Earth are tools in God’s hands to bring about positive change in individuals. I can thank God today even for my ex-husband, as mean and manipulative as he may be, because God has something in store to bring about growth and change. I can understand the resentment that may come of that statement. The growth often takes several years and then finally the victim bears fruit.
It took ugly, abusive relationship after another for me before I realized I needed help. I needed healing so I reached out for support so I could stand on my own. God provided resources and friends to do this: I found support groups and educational classes. I went from feeling helpless and wimpy to gaining strength to be on my own. While reading “Codependent no More,” I can say I’m no longer addicted to men. To relationships. I found that life is beautiful as I wait on God to decide Himself if I’ll get married again. Deciding to let it be in His hands may be the best decision I’ve made. I thank God finally after generations of abuse in my family, I can now say I’m breaking the chain. How? …I couldn’t have done it without the help of the abusers in the first place. Do I recommend this hard, long, confusing path to take? No, please take the easier road: take care of yourself, know what to look for in a relationship, and most of all be patient…and especially, rely on God, my friend.
It’s hard to define whether nostalgia originates in the conscious or the unconscious level, even harder to define without any direct experience to tie it too.
For me, Nostalgia seems to start in a feeling rather than a thought. It’s like a feeling, sense of smell, or specific view, bubbles up from within me and informs my thinking mind that I’ve been here before, that I should have been, or sometimes that I was going to be. In this way I think Nostalgia can be easily confused with DeJavu. I think both of those phenomenons somehow must be coming from a similar place.
But, Nostalgia seems to consistently make more sense. And it doesn’t always need to start from the outside in. Many times I feel nostalgia when I think of my grandmas house full of the kid versions of my cousins and I running around, mucking about for the holidays. I feel nostalgia when I think about my season of living in Hawaii and all of the close friends I used to do life with. In fact, Nostalgia, when I really think about it, always comes back to the feeling of what it was like to be with a specific person or persons. Sure, a place can remind me of what it felt like or even thinking about a certain object can bring back these memories. But my deepest sense of nostalgia has everything to do with relationships. There’s something deep within us that isn’t satisfied until satisfied in relationship. In fact, I think this may be a big reason we’re nostalgia’s at all. Life is limited and we can’t always be feeling what we felt when we were with that person. And no two people are alike. We don’t value people for their perfection because, though they are flawed, no one is like them. Perfection has nothing to do with Nostalgia. We remember people for who they were, not for how satisfied we were with their performance.
There are even different types of Nostalgia. There’s the kind where you can’t stop thinking about how thankful you are for a person… the kind that you dwell on for the beauty of the memory you had with them… Then the kind where you mourn every time you think about the person. You normally wouldn’t call this nostalgia because nostalgia mostly refers to good memories, but I think this form of nostalgia exists because it is a mourning for loss of the good times you once had.
I have to point out as well, that Nostalgia, unlike dejavu, isn’t just something that hits you all at once. It originates with a thought or an outside experience, but nostalgia wouldn’t be nostalgia if not consciously held onto… A kind of dwelling on that person or place or experience previous is required in order of it to be qualified as Nostalgia… and that means that it is connected to the heart, not just the mind.
Nostalgia has a lot to do with that deeper place of our hearts…the part that cares more about people than tasks… or more about connection than discipline. Despite Elon Musks strongest belief in A.I. becoming conscious, no robot will ever have that divine spark that causes us nostalgia for a person…because they can’t possibly ever really truly be unique… We need people to be nostalgia’s. And Nostalgia points to an even deeper part of the human heart. One that even a child had before even being taught.