This year has been hideously rough on my family. Between death and attacks on the integrity of our family unit, cultivating a thriving life as a family unit has been strained and fractured. It’s incredibly frustrating that outsiders can have such a deep impact on a family, but the sad reality is that some times other people can — and do — have power over us. The question is whether or not we let them exert that control over our lives and allow them permission to derail our plans and our dreams. The answer? We don’t. We press on. We show them who we are, what we’re made of, and how strong we are. I haven’t given up hope that we can salvage this year. I haven’t given up hope that the truth will prevail. I haven’t given up hope, and I won’t give up hope. Try as they may, my spirit cannot be broken. They will need to physically break me in order to stop me from nurturing myself, my family, and my dreams. I, too, have power — and I choose to use it wisely and responsibly. I could have easily abused my power earlier in the year, but I’ve chosen to let life unfold the story instead. I’ve chosen to keep the story to a limited few. I’ve chosen to continue practicing happiness and gratitude, cultivating life in spite of the challenges placed before me. I will continue to do so until the fight is over because that is the caliber of my character. I don’t quit — especially not when it comes to my family.
I find myself continually postponing registration for my courses in favor of handling more pressing matters. I’ve felt a lot of guilt over this, but today I’d like to let go of those feelings and give myself praise for recognizing that I wasn’t cultivating my life the way I should be. The purpose of cultivating my services and offerings online are to make my home the central focus of my day. I may not have cultivated my offerings into full-fledged products ready for purchasing, but I have cultivated my services into saplings ready to be watered by clients, students, and myself. And perhaps I need to establish myself as an English consultant further before I begin advertising my offerings. Stay tuned for news about my courses and workshops later in the year after I’ve had time to cultivate that which matters most and finalize my curricula.
What talent do you have that your usual blog readers don’t know about? Talk about a time when you showed it to its best advantage.
I don’t talk enough about my English grammar skills, which is something I’d like to change. I’m trying to build a business around that talent so I can cultivate my life, but I doubt I could cultivate that dream without talking more about my talent. I catch grammar errors in news articles, school papers, work memos, and all over. I know grammar can form an impression on someone — bad grammar forms the impression of ignorance, even when it’s undeserved. I want my students and clients to be perceived as the intelligent, wonderful people they are.
Before we left Gainesville, I started leveraging my talent as a means to earn some extra money while job hunting. I discovered that tutoring was very lucrative in a college town, and I almost took the risk of staying in Gainesville to try forging my own business there. Unfortunately, the rural community I live in doesn’t afford me the same opportunities. However, I determined that a sliding scale rate would attract at least a few students. A very wonderful student found and hired me in September of 2011, and he’s been a regular ever since. I may have only broken even after feeding that money back into a local eatery, but the rewards of seeing my student’s writing improve more than make up for that. I thrive when I see my work pay off.
Ultimately, I would love to cultivate my dreams of being an English consultant because I feel rewarded — and free — when I’m playing with words.
Being trapped in a confined environment can turn an ordinary experience into a powder keg. Write about a thing that happened to you while you were using transportation; anything from your first school bus ride, to a train or plane, to being in the backseat of the car on a family road trip.
My animal reproductive physiology final awaited me. It was December 2005 — the last stand in my battle as an animal science major. Nothing was going to stop me from that showdown in the Animal Science building. I climbed the steps of the bus, sat in my seat, and waited for the driver to pull away. The sound of tires screeching approached from behind. THUD. I felt my body jolt forward as a van rear-ended the bus. Clearly, the signs weren’t favorable. I sat, waiting angrily and impatiently for law enforcement — and the next bus. I filled out the incident report card, questioning the driver and the cops if I needed to stay after the next bus arrived. “Are you hurt?” I wasn’t sure. I didn’t care, though. I could walk. I could see. I could hear. I could take my final. Along the ride to the big final, I realized my neck hurt. I didn’t care. I had to take that test. I diligently answered the questions, ignoring the throbbing pain in my neck. The ER could wait until I turned in my fate. I needed to know if I was meant to be a veterinarian. My neck could wait.
Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Write about a time you taught someone a lesson you didn’t want to teach.
She had stolen my Violet, my favorite Pound Puppy plush toy. She thought she was entitled to my stuff because her parents owned the basement apartment we lived in. I was furious. I’d show her, though — I’d teach her how it felt to have your belongings violated. I found her play make-up compact. I took it home with me. When we moved, I kept it as a reminder that she stole my Violet. I would recall the sadness I felt, not having that plush toy. As I grew older, I began to forget the little plush toy and giggle at my three-year-old sense of justice. After all, two wrongs really don’t make a right.
Tell a story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual (Step 1, Step 2, etc.).
- Watch “Lady and the Tramp” with your mother.
- Think of something amazing to tell your dad.
- Ask your mother to pause the movie.
- Charge down the hall at full speed.
- Crash head first into the door knob.
- Shriek in terror and pain.
- Kick and scream as your mother attempts to apply pressure to your gushing forehead.
- Somehow make it to the emergency room.
- Flail and fight against the medical staff.
- Get strapped into a papoose for your own good.
- Scream bloody murder as they stitch your head closed.
- Wonder what the hell was so amazing that you had to tell your dad.
- Wonder that question for the rest of your life.
Tell a story set at your first job.
George sat me down for my 90 day evaluation. I received great compliments and praise for my efforts. And then he said it: “You’re not very analytical. You need to think more like a man.” I sat in stunned silence, in shock that this 40-something man just uttered those words to a 16-year-old girl in the year 2000. I couldn’t believe the misogyny sitting at the table. I complained to anyone who would listen. I joked with co-workers that I needed to elbow George, point out a woman, and comment on the size of her breasts — that would show him. Of course, I never did have the nerve to say anything to his face. I kept the job through the end of summer, but I felt no grief when I gave him my notice.
Oh, and George? Check out the rack on that one!
March promises to be better than January and February. I’m hoping March makes good on that promise. Regardless, life changes are upon me and my family. That’s why I’m relieved that the Scintilla Project is back this year, offering prompts to tell stories. I’m looking forward to the two weeks of story telling.
I can’t say for certain how I feel about March on the whole — I have mixed emotions after dealing with January and February. I want to let go of the past and make peace with things as they are and go forward with hope for a better future and love in my heart. But, I’m also scared of all the unknowns and uncertainties. It’s been quite a ride so far, and I’m not entirely sure if the exit for this particular roller coaster is getting closer or not. I’m in the dark and can’t see if there’s a swoop or turn ahead. I’m crossing my fingers that the car is pulling into the exit area, where I’ll leap out, kiss the ground, and count my blessings that I survived the ride of January and February 2013.
I started this month with intentions to go forward with my plans as scheduled. By mid-month, I knew this February was just as unforgiving as the last. Just as unforgiving as January. With all the pain my family’s endured for much of 2013, I’ve been too engrossed in life’s circumstances and completing myriad tasks to focus on my cultivate project. It’s a shame, really — this situation needs lots of cultivation and nurturing. However, I cannot undo the past or reset the year. I can only forgive, accept, and move forward. So when I saw that Scintilla was coming back this year, I felt eager to get back into the practice of writing for public consumption. I’m sure my prompt responses will be infused with grief, but processing grief through words brings peace. Somehow, I always feel a little better after I’ve written out my thoughts and feelings. And perhaps this is just the antidote I need to cure my writer’s block and get on with my projects.
Life has plowed full-speed ahead this year, and it’s all I can do to hold on for the ride. So much death and change has marred my 2013, and my heart has broken for my family several times over. At the onset of the year, I had grandiose plans to unveil courses, workshops, consultation and coaching packages, and a revised sliding scale tutoring fee schedule. I wanted to ring in my big three-oh in style. I wanted to celebrate my happy occasions with my family. Instead, I’ve found myself attempting to cultivate my life worth loving under very tense circumstances. I’ve opted to take time away from my job to focus on that which matters most — family. It’s all about my family — as individuals and as a unit. And at the moment, I feel like we’ve been set back quite a bit. We need time for grieving. For loving. For simply living. It may hurt now. It may feel like an unpleasant, discomforting state of being. Yet I know that we are all going to come out on the other side as a stronger family. Our strife will pave the way for stronger bonds and lots of love. Silly things like mortality and distance may mock us at the moment, but we will continue to cultivate thriving lives. I refuse to allow 2013 to break my spirit. I worked too hard for the last quarter of 2012 to prepare for 2013 — my determination to cultivate a lovely life for my family will only strengthen. I know that one day my children will be in their father’s shoes, and I want them to know that their parents were loving, caring individuals who did everything in their power to provide for them, teach them right from wrong, and instill good values in them. I want them to pass along the value of cultivating a life worth loving, even when life doesn’t feel worth loving. Life is always worth loving,