Sunday, January 4, 2015


It's nothing personal.  

People say that to you when you are upset by something that was done or said to you...something that mattered.  Something you cared about.  Whether you lost an opportunity, or someone treated you unfairly, these are the three words that are often offered to us to "make it better:"

It's nothing personal.

Have you been told that before?  Does it work for you?
Let's hold that thought for a moment while we go on to something unrelated...The SAT's.

There's a section on the SAT's that I remember quite well.  It's the analogies.  It goes like this:  

Peanut Butter : Jelly  :: ??
Then you choose from four choices which analogy is equivalent.  It is, in a way, a sort of marriage between math and language.  

They start out easy, and then become gradually more impossible, but still, I LOVED practicing these questions and trying to reason them out.

Why am I talking about this?  Well, reading through The Book Thief and experiencing the beauty of Zusak's language, I realize how important writing is to me and to many others out there, I am sure.  We are, as humans, always seeking to express ourselves and connect to others, and writing offers both opportunities in one stroke of the pen or a few taps on a keyboard. better illustrate SAT style....

writing: Mrs. Caraway ::  running: track athlete :: dancing: dancer :: painting : artist


All of these are ways to express ourselves, and in many ways, connect with others.  They enable us to express and release emotions and frustrations, whether those emotions be positive (joy, peace) or negative (pain, anger) and give us a chance to tell the world "I am here.  I have a voice."

We got to identify words that spoke to us as we looked through a list of 51 Quotes last blog entry, so now let's speak out.  Take something that has made you feel strongly: an experience, the words of someone else, an event, a tragedy, a challenge, ANYTHING.  Then, express yourself in poetry, allegory, an image you find that speaks to you, an image you create and can somehow share here with us, a link to a short video or clip you find or created that speaks  for you (appropriate, please), etc.  Then share it with us.

I am sharing something I wrote several years ago when I was feeling pretty down on the world and people, in general.  People can be thoughtless and inconsiderate.  They can, quite frankly, be downright cruel.  I was already discouraged by some people in my life, and then I happen to hear the phrase, "You can't let it bother you.  It's nothing personal."  I think I had an inner snap, and it made me write this down...

I cannot watch the news too often because I take what happens in the world very personally.  I hurt when I see people's lives ripped apart by an act of nature or an evil regime.  I feel sick when I see what some young and innocent children have to go through in their lives because of the selfishness and cruelty of others.  I am offended that people don't take these things personally, quite frankly, and while I have come to realize that the individual who gave me the advice to "not take things personally" meant well, and was right about not letting things KEEP me down, I struggle to this day with the phrase "It's nothing personal."

Maybe it's because I am the so-called artsy type; too emotional or sensitive.  Maybe I feel too much and too deeply.  But you know what?  Good.  I'm grateful for that.  To have a big heart to me is definitely better than the cold alternative.  

Would love to hear your thoughts on my expression/frustration--this snapshot in time--and I am excited to read and offer feedback on yours, too! the spirit of those fun analogies, may your expressions be to you like sweet freedom is to the long-held captive....a great and joyful relief!

We hurt each other with words and plots of financial destruction
We discourage, betray and disregard one another.
What we call "love" is fleeting; disposable- temporary.
We use each other, feigning friendship until our goals are reached and treasures are made.
Then, we politely dismiss one another with the words, "It's nothing personal."

I find it sadly humorous that we convince ourselves these words are true:
"it's nothing personal."
After we break a heart, destroy a trust, ruin a valued relationship, and dismiss it all
with this blatant lie.
What is life if not personal?
Anytime we enter the world of another, it is personal.
When we acknowledge their existence, engage in discourse, exhange pleasantries or vows,
it becomes, above all else, personal.

It is always personal, first and foremost. If nothing else, life, itself is personal.
When we deny this, we lie to ourselves.
John Donne wrote, "No man is an island....any earth that is diminshed diminishes me."
When we destroy each other with a blow that is "nothing personal,"
we are getting very personal with our souls. 

Slowly, it cuts away at our own lives.
This is the great irony that has cut away the very fabric of our society.
It is a line that separates us and makes us enemies: fathers and daughters,
mothers and sons, friends and lovers....we can never get close.

Too many times we have heard the lie or spoken it to ourselves.
A bittersweet assurance that whatever did go wrong, wasn't our fault.
It was nothing personal. 

We protest wars, shake our fist at crime, and cry out at violence-
but what do we expect?
It is an existence of our own creation-
One where "nothing is personal" anymore....


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  2. Okay, I see that this is a bit different than anything else we've had to blog about. I guess that's why I figured it would be good to divert myself from just posting two paragraphs of what I think. Basically, the world can be too loud with its opinions sometimes. It's crazy and truly unpredictable, so that's why I'm sharing what I'm going to share. Believe it or not, it was never intended to be (a song or a poem or however you take it) something that describes our need to get away from every day life. It was me and my cousin playing video games one day and the words just struck me. It wasn't until later on that I feathered them out and created this. I don't know, it's just the one thing I thought of when you mentioned how people say to not take things personally. I just think of how everyone leads their own individual life; it's up to them to decide how to live it, and it's not up to anyone else to tell you how to feel. If two people were in love and one person falls out of it does it hurt the other one any less? That's all I'm saying. So, it's basically just something I wrote a long time ago about getting away from every day life, because sometimes we need to take a breath. Plus, I really like to write, so it's personal to me.

    Walking with the crowd
    In a sea of misery
    Trying to figure life out
    Kept in the constraints of my daily routine
    I want
    I need
    To try
    To break free

    Blow me away
    Take me away
    Tell me where we can go
    A secret place
    Show me the way
    Give me the light
    I've been in the dark for so long
    Can't hide
    So blow me away

    Surprise me
    Make me feel safe and free
    This world is full of the brightest places
    And I'm following the light
    I'm done trying to hide
    I'm breaking free-Breaking free
    Just watch me

    Blow me away
    Take me away
    Tell me where we can go
    A secret place
    Show me the way
    Give me the light
    I've been in the dark for so long
    Can't hide
    So blow me away

    The whirlwind swirls around me
    Let the storm of my life rage on
    Go ahead and try to hold me back
    You'll find
    I won't be confined to every day life anymore

    Blow me away
    Take me away
    Tell me where we can go
    A secret place
    Show me the way
    Give me the light
    I've been in the dark for so long
    Can't hide
    So blow me away

    1. Reminds me quite a lot of Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield..

  3. I tried writing poetry, and it just wasn't working, so I chose to do a memoir if you can call it that. An experience, I think is what you were calling it, Mrs. Caraway. Something that I feel strongly about, is Human Trafficking. It's something that once I start talking about it, I get very emotional and rant-y.
    This of course, is one of those times.

    Something that makes me feel strongly is child trafficking. I honestly don't understand how someone can look at a young child's face and think these malicious thoughts.
    Everyday children are trafficked by people who's goal in life is to hurt, control, and harass children. I honestly don’t understand what mind set you have to want to do this to someone.
    I remember reading a few testimonies about these children who were trafficked and kept by these awful people in inhumane conditions. There was a story about a little boy who had been trafficked and put in a brothel. The children told him about a place that helped kids like them and it was like a fairy tale in their minds. This made me so sad because as a kid, you read about cinderella, and knights and superheroes, organizations like ZOE, was that fairy tale for these young kids.
    One night the boy ran out and screamed, “God don’t you see me?!” And it made me so emotional while reading it because that’s something you would think about seeing in a movie. I literally can’t even imagine that fear of going through a last resort and screaming into the sky to cry out for help. His prayers were answered and the next day police found the brothel and saved him and all of the other children inside.
    I do remember crying after reading that testimony because it makes me so upset how some of these kids don’t get the same story. Some children never have a real childhood because they suffer in these awful places. The really scary thing is this is happening right under our noses. For a more recent experience, my mom and I went to a grocery store in Scottsdale, and as we walked in, I noticed this girl who looked a few years older than me, but not by much. She had to still be a teenager. The thing is, her hair was done in such a nice way. It was a big and curly and it went all the way down her back. Her make up was done, and she had on this short pink dress that if I had worn it my parents might just keep me inside all day because of the way it was cut at the neckline. And her shoes were these large clunky sandals. Now, normally I’m not the person to just avoid people for no reason, I’m very good at making eye contact and smiling at someone. But the girl made eye contact at me and I immediately turned away, as if I couldn’t look at her. I felt a bit bad for not making eye contact with her, but my mom pulled me aside and said, “That Girl is being trafficked,” My reaction was to shoot my mom down and say how judgmental that was of her to say something like that about someone we knew nothing about. But I knew deep in my gut that something was definently wrong. The more my Mom and I walked through the store, I noticed an older man with her. He wasn’t too old, but something told me that wasn’t her father. The way she was always at his side and he’d send her away again, and she walk towards the perimeter of the shop. Something was way off.
    Back in the car I prayed with my mom for the girl and for whatever was going on. If we were wrong…we always prayed for forgiveness, but something just told us that there was some outside force causing her to dress like this and act like the way she was. While this subject is touchy to me, I still enable myself to do something about it. So the Fashion Club and I started raising money to ZOE, and organization that helps rescue children in trafficking. While something like this won’t stop in a day, it makes me feel better that I am helping to support people who want to end this heinous crime.

  4. I do take things personally, but I'm not a theatrical person. Honestly, when someone says, "Don't take it personally.", or, "It's nothing personal." we all still feel a certain way about whatever the person told us. If you admit it, or not, you still take some bit of "it" personally. I like to think of myself as a loud, friendly, laid back person. But just because I am those things doesn't mean I don't have any feelings and I can disregard whatever you just told me. I will probably listen to what you said and take that home with me, then I'll replay the conversation in my head, and try to figure out why it shouldn't be taken personally. The situation may not have been the biggest or most important, but it still has some part in my life. You can't just look at the ugly, tormented places and situations in the world and say, "Oh look! Something ugly is going on over there! Ehh, I won't take it personally." and move on. It will somehow affect you whether you realize it or not. You just need to be the voice that decides to speak up and take "it" personally. Also, it's OKAY to take things personally, this especially for guys. It shows that you're taking a stand for the values and beliefs you hold on tightly to.

  5. So, I have to bring lord of the rings in somehow because it has been a big inspiration to me.
    "It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered, full of darkness and danger they were. Sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when there’s so much bad that had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass." - Tolkien

    and another... “Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. That is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small things, every day deeds from ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love." - The Hobbit

    And a poem from me..

    Those in this world who want to hurt other people will,
    it's sad but there is no way to get around it.
    How can life not be personal?
    I know the footsteps of my father,
    I know the smell of my best friend,
    I know the sound of my brothers voice,
    and I know the pain that you have delivered.
    I can feel the darkness the world has sent to surround me
    and I can see the sun through that sliver of clarity.
    The words you throw at me our as personal as everything else in this life
    You mean to destroy me, and strip away the good I have left.
    I will prevail, and show you that I can have a happily ever after.
    I can testify that your words were foul and aimed at my heart.
    I can smile and tell you that my world has been dark
    but I can now feel the sun warm and comforting on my skin.

    I want to leave you with a few last words and then just your thoughts. The world is personal. It knows you and you know just as much about her. There is evil, and people who want to destroy you, always keeping you in the darkness. You can choose to win, to be the hero in the story. Look beyond the bad and see the happy ending. Don't think that you can't win remember to be kind and love. That is what evil fears most. Remember the small things and I promise you will keep the evil at bay.

  6. Alright here is a poem for the one thing that i can truly say has my heart always. Music.

    Time constantly goes by
    The notes on a page do not
    As we grow our memories fade
    However the music is not forgot.
    Music brings nations together
    It keeps people alive.
    Even in death there is music
    We all need it to survive.
    Music binds us
    It can also tear us apart
    The more you go through things
    The closer it is to your heart.
    A river of sounds
    An earthquake of beats
    A conundrum of notes
    And a wind gust of voice
    Lifes a song and we all play the notes
    We are the life that tie it all together like ropes.

    Music is everything to me, and it's the reason for who i am. At any point i can listen anything from classical to metal and it makes me happy, just to be hearing it.

  7. My dad inspires me. I feel that no matter how many times I try to type it out I will never be able to truly express how much he inspires me to be the best that I can possibly be. Although he may unintentionally stress me out occasionally, he still inspires me and I push myself to work harder and be a better person every day. Although I may fail miserably sometimes, he still has inspired me to be nice and be a good friend to others, study harder and do as good as I possibly can in school, and be able to assist others in any way needed. I hope I make him proud.

  8. I just want to start my response with the question of have you ever seen the movies You've Got Mail? It is one of my mom's favorite "chick flicks", so let's just say we watch this movie... a lot. The only reason I bring this up is because I was reading your writing, which was great by the way, and thinking of the scene when Meg Ryan is sick and Tom Hanks comes to visit her and tells her it was nothing personal, just business. The way she responds to him, I felt like I could see you saying. After he says that, she goes on this whole rant, "*pierces her lips* I hate that. Why do people say that. I mean everything we do 'ought to begin with being personal. Why....". Just cracked me up and made me think of you. Maybe you know which seen I am talking about.

    My poem: (short and sweet and to the point)
    Message In A Bottle
    Being sent
    traveling miles and miles
    to meet people
    have fun
    and share a Special Message

    Arriving knowing only partially
    knowing what to expect
    looking for the one
    you are still

    Those faces of lost
    that don't know how to be found
    Knowing you can only do one
    to add hope.

    That special message
    floating across
    the treacherous sea
    in a small glass bottle
    begging to be opened

    You speak and see color
    coming back in their face;
    an overwhelming joy;
    an indescribable joy

    Hope Ignited
    Fate Changed
    Forever Alive
    Everlasting Peace

    Turning back
    to the sender:
    "The message was sent
    and received."

  9. I'm going to write an experience that I've been through when I wasn't supposed to 'take it personally' but I did anyways.

    I went on a mission trip with my church before my freshmen year. We went on a trip to Los Angeles to host a VBS for the kids there. Some of the kids that were going to come were homeless, so we experienced homelessness on the first and second day of the trip to know how it feels like. It started with everyone keeping only two personal items and not having anything else available to us. Some people kept their tooth brushes, pillows, clothes, etc. I chose my pillow and sleeping bag since we were going to sleep outside. Since I chose those items, I had to change into donated clothes. The pants didn't button and the shirt was a dress on me. We also couldn't have food. We got fake money and had to pay for a meal. One meal was 7 dollars and we were given 10 dollars. So, I chose lunch.

    Anyways, the second day, we had to split into groups and go on a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt consisted of finding food, finding cans to sell, finding the prices of housing, ask for money, talk to homeless people, and just talk to people. I knew walking into it that I shouldn't take anything personal since it was just a simulation. However, I did. When I dug in trash cans for cans, people stared at me. When I talked to other homeless people, they judged me. When I tried talking to normal people, they would clutch the bags, children, and run past me. The disgust on their faces as they looked at me was utter disgust and it was clear that they thought I was an animal. I wasn't like them. I was carrying a box filled with cans and a women came up to me, looked in the box, laughed in my face and walked away. I was pretending to be homeless, and people treated me like trash. I was hurt and angry that homeless people get treated like that on an everyday basis. It broke my heart for them.

    Ever since that experience, I never look at homeless people the same way because I know how they're treated and I would never want to be the person that treated them like they were animals.

    My point in that story is that people are going to take things personally whether they're told to or not. That's just how people are. They feel and can't help it. Especially when you're a 'homeless' person and get treated like trash.

  10. As I was reading this and thinking about The Book Thief I began to think of poems I had written freshmen year when we read Night with Mrs. Jones. I also thought about a couple poems I wrote last year about some very personal things that I bet some people didn't see that way. I agree with you. Once you are involved, once you have any attachment to anything at all it becomes personal. I think saying "don't take it personal" is, in some cases, the same as saying "no offense." Has anyone ever said those two words without following up with something that is offensive? NO! That is why they said it in the first place. If you are hurting, or effect any way by something, it is personal.
    A small story.. Today I was in math and I heard the teacher and some students talking about something. I only caught a few words like crying, teasing, upset, and reported. I was interested in what was going on so I asked. When someone replied with "It isn't your business" I kind of flipped out. If there is someone in our school being bullied or hurt I deserve to be aware so that I can either help in some way or protect myself and others. As soon as I was aware, it became personal. Anyway... I digress.
    I went back to the poems I had written in years back and I'm having a hard time choosing one to share. There are so many that I think fit in with this topic and so many that fit with The Book Thief.

    Here is one that I added to and edited. Both personal and relating to The Book Thief.

    I dream of a perfect place.
    A place where there is peace.
    A place where there is always happiness.
    Where fighting doesn't exist.
    There isn't anger.
    Appalling language isn't spoken.
    Families aren't leaving each other.
    Friendships don’t end.
    Love doesn't hurt hearts it heals them.
    Tragic things don't have to be seen.
    Life treats us well.
    Where sickness can’t take over.
    Danger isn't in our minds.
    Everyone gets along
    In this perfect place. In my dreams.

  11. Reading this reminded me of quotes. For me quotes and words are things that really stick with me. I have many many quotes memorized and written on my walls. They are quotes that have stuck with me through hard times and quotes I have recited to myself when I needed it. A couple of my top favorite quotes is one from How I Met Your Mother and one from Rocky Balbo. The quotes are: “its not about how hard you can hit, its about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That is how winning is done”-Rocky Balboa. “The bigger mistake would be to not make the mistake, because then you’d go your whole life not knowing if something is a mistake or not.”-How I Met Your Mother. These are a couple quotes that have gotten me through a lot.

  12. My family means the world to me. They give me hope that no matter how bad it gets my family is always there. This is a poem about my cousin Danny who is literally my world. Being with him makes all the bad in world disappear for an hour. (I am hoping I did this blog post correctly).


    Arizona’s summers are hot,
    stay inside where the air-conditioner
    is on high

    little kids laugh and smile when jumping
    in the pool
    put on the
    sun yellow floatties
    on each stringbean

    the best part of summer
    is learning how to swim
    without the dreadful floatties
    thank the lord
    or simply off the steps
    into a loved one’s arms
    safely in your arms
    a young one smiles
    with joy

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  14. Now I know my father isn't a girl or isn't named Lucy, but this song reminds me of him so much, because i wish i had gotten to know him a bit more before he left us. But i was told many things by my mother to help me through the pain of that. And because of this occurrence, i take a lot of things that are about people dying seriously. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable to read the rest of the book thief because of it. Having finished the reading already for this weekend, I wasn't sucked into the book more.. It made me reject it a bit. I don't like to read things about what happened in "The End of the World pt. 1". It sucks. I take a lot of it to heart because I can be a person of pity at times, but even though i'm not jewish or gay or anything like that that Hitler and the Nazi's prosecuted and killed off, i feel offended. Because people like them are just like us. We are all humans, and when you attack one kind of us, you attack all of us in a way.

  15. This is a perfect blog post for my day today..
    I usually never take things personally because if I did I would honestly be an emotional wreck. I tend to never show when I'm sad and I hate crying in-front of others. I have gone through many things but they have never held me back from moving on and doing the right things. Even though this might not be totally relatable is something personal that I struggle with.
    I've always had to work 100 times harder than anyone else. Yes i know, some people do work harder than me and that shows. But my knowledge is not like others. I constantly have to tell myself that I need to do better and push myself to do things that I thought I will never be able to do. Some people tell me I am too harsh on myself sometimes but I have my reasons.

    An old best friend of mine from whenI was younger use too always slack in school but he was and still is incredibly smart. I hated that he didn't take his knowledge and use it at all. It made me so furious that I would complain all the time, he had terrible work ethic and he was a pro at procrastinating! He would always tell me "Don't take this personal but I don't try my hardest and I still do better than you when you tried your hardest".
    Lets think about this...
    How would I not take this personal? Was he basically saying that my work wasn't good enough or that I'm not smart enough?
    It doesn't matter what he meant.. I took it personally and it gave me this feeling throughout my whole body. It felt like ants were crawling at my finger tips and my stomach just got punched; I slowly started to sweat and suddenly in seconds, I was full with anger and disappointment.
    Since that day I have always pushed myself to do better than I have ever done. Of course, I am not going to lie I slack sometimes or I don't try as hard as I could but that's when I am tired. Not tired like taking a nap tired. The kind of tired where all you want to do is be alone and not have to worry about everyone else; pretty much being sick of your surroundings and sometimes even tired of myself it seems.

    I work for everything that I have and it will be really disappointing if someone comes around and makes me feel worthless and then I'll give up on myself not once but twice.

    “I am strong, but I am tired, Stephen, tired of always having to be the strong one, of always having to do the right thing.”
    ― Brenda Joyce, An Impossible Attraction

  16. As I read this blog post, so many experiences that have impacted my life came to mind. I am a very sensitive person, and I am very big in expressing emotion. Whether it is expressing hurt, anger, happiness, etc. Sometimes, I am good at hiding it, for example, hiding pain, but I cannot say I do it very well. I do not always have a poker face, if I am hurt, anger, happy, I can guarantee there will always be a smidgen of something on my face or attitude that will express it. Because I am a sensitive person, like you Mrs. Caraway, I feel very deeply. I take everything to heart. I contemplate, ponder, and pace at words said to me. Maybe it has to do with my self esteem and how I see myself as an individual that lead me to take things said to me harshly, maybe I'm just sensitive.
    Recently, I went through an experience I can say has affected my life in a huge way, something that I will walk away with, forever. I'm a girl with a very bold personality. Very prideful, very stubborn, very harsh, but also very loving, and sensitive. I know I have a big heart. My brain is racked with beautiful, odd, even cruel thoughts. Being a girl like this, I sometimes find it hard to believe that someone could ever love me for me. It's almost like there is more difficulty in finding someone to love a person like me, a person with so many conflicting personalities. Good heart. Potty mouth. Kind soul. Smart ass. Sinner. Humble. Caring friend. Then life throws a curve ball at you. You get sent someone who you think truly adores who you are and what you're made of. Slowly, things started to go downhill, but I tried to hang on to the thought that this person was infatuated with who I was. Then one day, I heard a grouping of words, that right about punctured my heart. "Your personality is way too strong. You're too much of a mix of characteristics. You don't have yourself figured out. You try to find yourself and change who are in all these personality traits and other individuals instead of centering yourself. It's too tiring to love you." Words said so blandly, but meant so much.
    For months, I contemplated who I was, and if that is who I wanted to be. I was sad for weeks. I felt like I wanted to jump out of my own skin, like my own skin itched and was uncomfortable. I had to instruct myself to put it aside, to feel okay. I wanted out. I was detached from myself. Sure, the heartbreak in the end hurt. But what hurt most? Being told who you are is too complicated, that who you are is too difficult to love. I know that I am only 17 years old, with an abundant amount of life ahead of me. But like I mentioned before, I feel very, VERY deeply, and 17 is a vulnerable age. So of course, it hurt my self esteem, it hurt my belief in myself. I contemplated for weeks, and even still do sometimes, should I have closed my mouth more? Been less volatile, less awake? In one of my soul searching hours, I came across a very simple quote. But it gave me so much relief. "You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, and not something everyone knows how to love."
    I have concluded that I am someone not everyone knows how to love. I have concluded that I don't want to be weighed down by "pretty" or "beautiful" any longer. I have accepted I am a fiery heart, a wicked brain. I do not need to let my soul be defined by anyone but myself. Words from friends, adults, quotes, literature, have helped me endure this rough bump. I may not seem like a huge literature geek, but inside I am, I indulge words, I use them to get through life daily. know my prince charming is out there. Poor guy is probably stuck in a tree or something, but he's out there.

    1. Love this. Maybe you need to save HIM from the tree! ;)

      Don't ever apologize for being passionate and fiery and bold. Apologize if in your personality you inadvertently hurt someone's feelings, but if someone thinks it is too tiring to love you, that simply means he isn't strong enough to love you.

      There is someone (more than one person, but one person who has been ultimately picked for you) who IS able to appreciate and ADORE who you are. Someone who is willing to accept you as you are, meet you where you are, and love you in a way that encourages you to be the best version of yourself. Rejection always hurts, but it also always teaches and strengthens. Thanks for sharing this is writing. I hope it was cathartic! :)

  17. I really enjoy writing. I love the rhythm, and the feeling I get when I write. But when I write poetry it just sort of comes to me, and I feel like that's where my best writing is truly shown. Both of these poems were written in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep, and they were both done in probably 5 minutes, but I think it displays who I truly am.

    "Every Moon"

    My heart,
    Is a moon in disguise,
    Beating inside my chest.
    Wanting to break free.
    But stuck in a cage.
    Trying to shine,
    But not always winning.
    Attempting to breathe.
    But having to cough.
    Every heart,
    Is like a moon.
    And no matter how hard,
    It tries,
    Sometimes it does not shine,
    It does not breathe.
    It is not free.
    And that is okay.
    Because the moon in the sky,
    With its own place,
    Still has eclipses.

    "If I Thought"

    I would swallow the moon,
    If I thought,
    It would bring me closer to you.

    I would race the stars,
    If I thought,
    I would catch you.

    I would sit on the sun,
    If I thought,
    It would please you.

    I would search for the end of the sea,
    If I thought,
    I would find you.

    I would light up my insides,
    If I thought,
    It would help you see.

    I would face my worst fear,
    If I thought,
    I would be with you.

    I would do anything,
    If I thought,
    It would help you see all of me.

  18. This blog post relates to my life on so many levels. I have been told “it’s nothing personal” so many times in my life. To be completely honest when you say “it’s nothing personal” it is going to be personal know matter what. To anybody who has ever said this phrase here is a little tip. Sometimes its better not to say anything , then to say how you truly feel and make things worse. Leave all of the negative comments to yourself.
    I am the way I am today because of the disrespectful comments people have said to me. I am a very emotional individual although I tend to build up my emotions. I will never let my guard down in front of anybody because I fear that if I do I will come off as weak. You can only let someone throw so many stones at you before you pick them up, put them together and build a wall to keep them from doing it again. This is one of my faults because I do not allow myself to feel, and to be open and authentic with others. I need to tear down every brick wall around me, and start feeling emotions more openly.

  19. I am not a poet so I’m not even going to attempt to try to write a poem, but I would like to talk about how I deal with the “It’s nothing personal”.
    I am probably one of the most sensitive people on the plant but I keep it bottled up. I mean it’s kind of unhealthy at times. The only emotion I let freely flow is my anger, and yes I know that it is definitely not the one I shouldn’t have tamed by now. I’m for the most part a very stubborn person who NEVER forgets anything, and I really never forgive. I always have my guard up and there are only two people, if not only one who know the ‘real’ me. One of those two has had a huge impact on my life, some say for the worse, but I know its for the better. I’ve grown way more confident in myself and instead of bottling what I’m feeling up and storing it to take out on someone later, I can express myself. Now this person has a reputation and because I’m associated with them rumors have started about me. But I’m not known, I’m like the walls of the school, everyone sees me but no one cares that I’m there. And none actually know anything about me. Recently I heard what one of the many juniors are probably thinking but from someone I’d never expect. And when I confronted this person they said “You know what they're known for” saying that because I’m close to them I’m just like them, “It’s not you” “It’s nothing personal”. But it is. I never felt so betrayed and foolish in my life. It hurt me, a lot. I broke down to the person that changed anyones view of me and I realized something. Really when someone says that it’s because they are a weak person and feel the need to put others down, they do it because we have something they don’t. So maybe we do need to not take it to heart because at the end of the day they’re the ones with problems.
    I might have totally missed the mark for this post but trying to explain it is really really hard because I don’t think I fully can. I haven’t experienced enough to try to get the really truth behind it.

  20. That's a very interesting thought Mrs. Caraway. Sometimes I think that we just say things (like "don't take it personal") to relieve the tension in some situations. But, that's definitely food for thought.

    I'm not really big into writing poetry because it never quite turns out the way I imagined. So, I will write a reflection/memoir of a very challenging time for me that ended up being so, so valuable.

    Me and my brother were homeschooled for 14 years. Now, I had a very anxious spirit as a child, which I think I mentioned before. I spent every day, all day, with my mom. So, whenever my parents would drop me off at friends' houses or events or whatever, sometimes I would become very panicky. I hated it. I couldn't do anything without my parents or out of my comfort zone.

    The weeks leading up to my first day at Odyssey, were filled with fear masked by excitement. "Are you nervous to start at public school?" people would ask me. "A little. I'm excited!" Swallow the lies. But I can confidently say that I have never been so terrified in my life than the night before. August 18, 2013. Won't forget that date. I laid in bed and tried as best as I could to fall asleep, but I kept worrying. Honestly, I really have no idea what I was so afraid of. I guess just because it was a new experience. Whatever the reason, I was beyond myself with fear, to the point of nauseousness. I would worry and then fall asleep for a couple minutes and then arrive back into consciousness. For just a split second, the pit in my stomach was relieved because I thought it was all a nightmare, and then I would realize it was is all real. It was such a long night. When morning came, I put this new uniform on tried my hardest not to lose it in front of my parents, who said their goodbyes and watched as I pulled out of the driveway.

    I'm pretty sure I didn't eat for a week and a half. The whole experience was so challenging because it took me away from everything I was used to and shoved me into this completely new environment. I didn't even understand how class periods worked. I was so afraid that I would have a panic attack at school. So many fears.

    But, you know what, I didn't. I survived. Yes, it was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it was so worth it. I wouldn't take my choice back for a million dollars. Better yet, I learned that I can survive out of my comfort zone. I realized that I can try new things and survive.

  21. I actually do take things personally a lot of the time. I know I dont act like it and say well I dont care or whatever. Things people say to me even if they're joking can be stuck in my head for weeks. Im the type of person to think about every word that was said to me and just think about it whether good or bad. I know I joke around all the time and just say stupid things just because and I expect people not to get offended but actually reflecting now on how these type of jokes makes me feel, they actually really bother me. Words hurt whether your joking or not but at the same time you shouldnt let the things people say about you affect who you are or how you feel about yourself. I dont remember if ive shared this story before or not because I do quite often but when I was younger I played softball and did dance. My dad was the coach of my softball team and was hard on me because he wanted me to be the best I could be. I will never forget this one day we were playing a game against another team and apparently my dad knows the coach because he seems to know everyone, anyways I was up to bat. He knew I could hear every word he was saying 1. because he talks REALLY loud and 2. he was standing right there at 1st base talking to the other coach. The pitcher threw the ball and I swung and missed. I knew my dad was going to have something to say about that, but he didnt he just laughed. When he laughed it really pissed me off so I just went back in the box and waited for the next pitch. Second strike came and I swung and missed AGAIN. This time my dad said "she should just stick to dance." I think this bothered me so much because even though he was joking what he said meant to me that he was saying like oh you're not good enough to be playing softball. I had to hit it I just had to not only to prove my dad wrong but for my own pride also, I couldnt strike out I just couldnt haha. I got back in the batters box and as she pitched the ball I just kept repeating the same bible verse I always do and it happened so fast my bat hit the ball and before I knew it I was at home plate. I had just hit my first homerun. What I take from this story is to not let what others say affect me and how I see myself but to be a motivation to better myself. Its almost like I want to prove them wrong. No matter how much I say words dont bother me, they do.. a lot, but I try and am working on using those things as motivation and not letting it bother me because really their opinion is irrelevant. Who are they to say something? What makes what they say define who I am? It doesn't I wont let it, I guess I kind of have a i dont care attitude when it comes to that. Reflecting now though I do realize I need to watch my words and what I say to people as well.

  22. I'm not much of a poet, but I'll give it a shot. But first, I will say that I agree with your poem completely but in a different light I suppose. It happens a lot actually in the music industry. You'll write a song or want to be an opening act for an event and they'll say "It's nothing personal but..." and usually it is. A lot of the music industry now a days is personal. It's your numbers on social media and contacts in your phone. Frustrating but it's what society as led us to believe that talent isn't enough anymore but that's why as an artist I have to learn to adapt. Everything is personal.
    Anyways, here's my poem.

    If Eyes Could Say Words:

    If eyes could say words,
    what was yours say to me?
    When I enter a room silently.
    I see that you notice,
    but wonder if you care.
    If eyes could say words,
    would yours tell me hello?

    If eyes could say words,
    would they ask me about my day?
    When you see I’ve been crying,
    would they know what to say?
    Your mouth has been silent but that doesn’t mean,
    that you have nothing you want to say to me.

    If eyes could say words,
    would they ask me to dance,
    even though there’s no music and we’re all alone?
    Would you eyes have the courage,
    that you mouth does not have?
    Or would we still feel the silence,
    and would we still be alone?

    If eyes could say words,
    would yours tell me to leave?
    Would they tell me to let go?
    Would they tell to give up?
    Would they tell me it’s over,
    before it began?
    Would they tell me that we,
    shouldn’t give this a chance?

    If eyes could say words,
    mine would say hello.
    Mine would ask about your day,
    mine would try to make you laugh.
    Mine would want to help you get through,
    every hard time.
    Be the light in the window,
    on your cold winter night.

    But eyes don’t say words,
    so in silence we are again,
    too afraid to say words,
    well actually we can’t.
    We have nothing to say,
    or to discuss.
    Not with our mouths.
    But I guess we’ll keep staring,
    from a distance that is.
    But if eyes could say words,
    well... eyes don’t say words.

  23. (Finally figured out how to do it). I've never had a truly detrimental or enlightening moment that has stuck with me my whole life, I'm pretty lucky to say that my lifes been pretty good. It's interesting though, it might be the same or different for others, but to me the whole world speaks to me. Yeah, I know, I'm crazy..but life is just so beautiful..this world that we live in is so beautiful. Sometimes I watch a movie or read a book and feel like I've lives through those experiences and in turn can live with them. Sometimes I look up at the sky and see steams of pink, orange, yellow and blue with punctured white in-between and am in awe of such great beauty. I wonder how something so simple can draw my mind to think of everything, seriously like everything in that small fraction of time. The world inspires me.
    It frustrates me not that everyone can see this. It frustrates me that we live in a time and place where we busy ourselves with nothing. In ten-twenty years silly comments on facebook won't matter. It frustrates me that our society tells us what you should be doing-and if you look at it closely enough most of it is time wasting and gibberish. What do we do with our lives? Why don't we see the things that matter and when we do we put them off for "later"? Later never comes. I am one of the biggest offenders of this..I kills me.. But sometimes I find the courage to stand up to my societally pushed selfishness and do something. This "courage" usually comes from others courage or basic things in life( courage- in this sense means speaking/showing something that is being disregarded or forgotten about whether it be a world issue or something in the world itself). I once read a book that said that pain demands to be felt. This is I made a picture to remind me of this..

  24. As I was reading this, I kept thinking to myself of something that might relate with this week's blog post. As I was thinking, I came across something that might just relate. Something that I am strongly passionate about are sports. I grew up playing sports. Sports are my getaway. For others it might be reading, drawing, or baking. My mother has had me in sports ever since I was old enough to join a sports team. I grew up playing sports and I love the different experiences that I have had being on teams. Whether it be winning or losing, their is ALWAYS room for improvement. Growing up I have been in different sports. I have played soccer, softball, basketball, and volleyball. I have also done gymnastics and karate. In every sport you play there is something that they all have in common, and that is practice. Whatever sport you play you need to practice. If someone is trying a sport for the first time whether it be to just try the sport or to play in a club team, it frustrates me when someone discourages him or she and tells them that they are not good enough to play or will ever be good enough. They might say "It's nothing personal". But for me this is something personal. Whenever you say that to anyone trying something for the first time, it will make them feel bad about themselves. "It's nothing personal" reminds me of when we say no offense but... These words will be offensive. When the words "It's nothing personal are being said, most likely it will be personal. These words will stick to them, and that person to whoever you said it to will get discouraged. You have also shut down completely what might have been someone's dream to do. Instead of discouraging someone because they are not as good as you, you should encourage them, so that they do not feel down about themselves or feel like they are worthless. Instead encourage them to practice. I don't want to sound too cliché and say "practice makes perfect" but starting somewhere and building up from there is better than just giving up completely. Being on a team, is for every team member to help each other out, and encourage one another. Another way "Don't take it personal" it will frustrate me is when you have just lost and someone says the words "Don't take it personal". I mean yeah I guess you should not take it too personally but, you shouldn't just forget about it completely. Instead you should reflect on how you played in the game and improve where the mistakes have been made. Whenever I lose in a game I do take it personally. That is because I am competitive, but also because I love the sport and I do not want to repeat a simple mistake that occurred. I will take it personally so that I can try and push myself to become better than I was before. This is why I do not really like when people say "Don't take it personal" There is a quote that I admire that relates to this.
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts."
    - Winston Churchill

  25. Thank you very much for sharing those experiences, Mrs. Caraway! There were sentiments in your post that I was extremely pleased to see, as it brings some comfort when one finds that others have similar experiences. I have determinately resolved to fiercely rebuke anyone who would make a claim that something wasn't personal in the future, because it always is. Anytime we interact with anyone in any way, it is personal, because we are interacting directly with them.
    This next part is difficult, I've spent a long time trying to think of what to share. My own story is quite complicated, but there is one tragic moment that occurs with disturbing frequency, and that is what I will present.

    A lost moment

    A lost moment passes instantly,
    Too small to notice,
    Too powerful to ignore,
    A lost opportunity.

    Too many moments could be spent on the lightest subject,
    A joke told carefully,
    A story told excitedly,
    Too many moments we allow ourselves to forget.

    A moment of deep contemplation,
    Too important to understand,
    Too real to dismiss,
    A chance to learn torn away.

    Too much is gained from these moments,
    A benefit too substantial to realize,
    A feeling too wonderful to describe,
    Too important to lose.

    A blanket of fear suffocates me,
    Too heavy to breathe,
    Too solid to speak,
    A stalemate unbreakable.

    Too much could go wrong,
    A wrong word,
    A wrong time,
    Too many worries fill my heart.

    A moment passes,
    Too little has been done,
    Too little has been learned,
    A moment is forever burned into my regrets.

  26. I know this is a little bit out there, but I wanted to share a song that I was reminded of when I read what was written above, both by Mrs. Caraway and everyone else. This song speaks to me in a very peculiar way, and I believe it's one of those songs that says something different to everyone. This song is 'Jesus Christ' by Brand New, and despite the title, it's about more than religion. Here's a link, if anyone's interested:
    As I said before, everyone will have a different connection to the song, but I thought I'd share my interpretation. To me, the song is about expectations, about appearances, and the fear of not measuring up. Early on, it talks about how when the singer dies and arrives in heaven, they'll be all alone. The song continues with question of what happens after death. But the important thing here is that the singer is not afraid of death, but that they'll be unprepared for what comes after, and that they missed their opportunity to do right. Both of these parts, to me, are indicative of someone who feels like they are always on the outside, shut out from the rest of the group (i.e. those who show up prepared in heaven, together). I've struggled with this feeling for years (yay introverts), and I think to an extent we all have. That universal feeling of being in the dark. Later on, the singer expresses their feeling that their 'dark' is too strong to be kept under wraps. And he asks if, when he dies, the saint Thomas will inspect him, see if he's fit for paradise. This, again, is the feeling of failure. You try all your life to be a good person, but in the end, you will be judged, and you have no say in the decision. The rest of the song talks about how the singer feels as if they are a failure to Jesus, and not just a failure; a traitor. To me, this is the other human condition. We can never be perfect. We can try as hard as possible, make all the right moves, give everything we have towards making others accept us, but it is up to our flawed fellows to pass judgement on us. Basically, we're all failures. But beyond that, as the song says, we will always see ourselves as failures to those that we look up to. To Jesse Lacey, that is Jesus. To someone else, maybe it's their parents. We will never measure up fully to the idols we revere. Maybe that's what makes 'nothing personal' so personal.
    P.S. Sorry about the song analogy, I really like that song.

  27. Oh, boy. Poetry is definitely not my forte. But, sharing stories is something more up my alley. When I was in fourth grade, I remember this boy, perhaps a few years my senior, talking to his friends about how mixed children weren't worthy of going to school with him, His friend, upon seeing me (a mixed kid) came over to me and patted my shoulder, telling me it wasn't personal. I still cried the entire way home.
    Now, while this specific instant wasn't ACTUALLY personal, I still, personally, took offense to it. Just because someone says it's not personal, doesn't mean it's not hurtful. I think many people should keep this in mind when using the phrase. Anyways, in my person experience, whenever someone says "it's nothing personal", IT ALMOST ALWAYS IS. It's like when your friend says, "No offense..." before launching into some offensive spiel that makes you want to punch them. Simply stating either one of those phrases does not negate the offensiveness of ones comments.

  28. My dad is my main inspiration for everything I do. He is always telling me to do things that I may not like, but later on start to understand that he is doing it for my own good. He is always pushing me to do new or different things, and always tells me to try my best. Right now he is stressing me about having two C's, and even though it bugs me and gets on my nerves at times I understand why he's doing it and that he just wants me to succeed. One funny story I have is, a few months ago we got pulled over while on our way to California, because he was speeding. Now all that happened was, he had to take an online driving course with about 10 chapters and tests in it. What he decided to do was make me do the online course for him, and he claimed it was because he wanted me to have "more knowledge of the road and driving." Now was he being truthful or just lazy? To this day I still don't know the answer to that, but I mean it did actually help and I did learn some new things so I guess I will chalk that one up to him looking out for me.

  29. This doesn't necessarily relate to the whole "it's nothing personal" bit but it's definitely something that I'd like to talk about.

    I'm sure that all of us have had the (dis)pleasure of trying to find ourselves among the wreckage of human fault. Maybe, we all haven't happened to discover ourselves in the desolation of a perpetual and constant struggle, we'll never really be able to completely identify ourselves. Humans are too complicated to really be able to do this. We're prone to constant growth and development and our minds, much like our hearts, our bodies, and our souls, are never going to be permanent.

    This isn't necessarily an event per se, and it's not a story either, but — an explanation. Probably a terrible one, but that's not really up for me to decide.

    I'm always trying to figure out who I am. I've started writing about my day in a journal as well as commenting on things I like that particular day (or in general) and things I don't like, so forth. I've been putting concrete connections to thinks that can help me know myself a little better. I've always had this issue where I didn't feel I was necessarily a solid person and this terrified me. I couldn't tell you my favorite song or my favorite band and I had such a hard time identifying with myself.

    — then, I heard this song. (listening to it isn't necessary but I felt like sharing a link. Please excuse the cursing;

    This, I felt, was a perfect explanation of how I feel generally. The lyric that will always get to me the most is "when I wake up, I'm afraid somebody else might take my place". This is both a physical thing (as in, I'm afraid of replacement and abandonment) and a mental one — I don't want something to slaughter the information I have collected about myself and turn me into someone I can't recognize. Not only that, but the song comments about how I'm always in this state of paranoia, almost like no one enjoys my company. It's not like anything I've heard before; it's almost /too/ personal, too close. However, it's probably my favorite song of all time. I will never get tired of it, and the fact that I relate to it so well is something I simply can't overlook. It's a part of me.

    While I'm always looking for myself, this is something concrete and something that will always be with me. I love this song for being able to be something consistent.

  30. Whenever it comes to bringing up a memory to write about, one in particular comes to mind. It is the memory of the day my great-grandfather's death. It is the only memory I have of the man, and even in the one memory I have of him, I can still tell how great of a person he was. Now when I was little, this left the idea of mortality in my head. I took it personally that death took such a nice man. I took it personally that death takes anybody that could be close to me. Now that I'm a little older, I do have a broader understanding of death and the like, I do not take it personally. I think that when somebody says not to take something personally, they may be trying to make up for something. To apologize. They may be going about it wrong, but it's all about them trying to make the best of things.