Structural Me in an Unstructured Environment with Unstructured People (Introvert In Unknown Territories)

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Traveling to My Friends

I flew back after my trip to Africa to visit some friends. My older sister and I traveled together until we reached London and then the next two flights I was by myself. This was scary but not as terrible as my worries had made it. 

I got bumped up a class because of a bad experience on the previous flight. This was very helpful. However, I still did not get much sleep. This was coupled with a jet lag of eight hours. Needless to say, I showed up at my friend’s house and slept for a while. It took nearly a week to switch back. Jet lag made me wake up at 3 or 4 am and my friends stayed up quite late. So, I ended up losing sleep on both ends. This caused me to take naps around the time when I would have gone to sleep in Africa and not switch back easily. 

Who are my Friends?

I do not enjoy traveling by myself. So, why did I choose to visit these friends? I met them at a camp I have been going to since I was born. This August was the first time that I met all seven of the guys. I became friends with the younger ones and they invited me to visit. Normally, I wouldn’t take them up on it. However, these guys are intriguing and for some reason I really like them. They are all good and decent men who are not always easy to find and I enjoy their company. 

Structure vs No Structure and How it Pushed Me

Now, one thing that drives me crazy is their lack of structure as a group and some individuals. I am a very structured individual. I schedule things well in advance and there is rarely a time when I do not have a plan. This was one of those times. In my month of living outside of my bubble, I knew that I would not be able to plan and schedule my time with my friends. They got with the immediate, they choose what they are going to do at the moment that it is presented to them. This can be very frustrating to me when I am trying to plan. So, in order to deal with this issue I foresaw, I decided not to fight it and try things their way. 

What I learned

One of the big reasons that I need structure is for efficiency. Would I have liked to do more things and see people more? Yes, I actually did. (which is part of the reason I like hanging out with them: they don’t exhaust me like everyone else) I was able to “go with the flow” for a week and do whatever because I had no deadlines or need for efficiency. That is why I was able to live unstructured for a week. 

Group Dynamic and Lack of Structure

When there is a group of unstructured individuals. It can be very difficult to gauge what will happen. I always want to know what to expect. This is something that I struggle with. I tend to put myself in situations where there are fewer variables to contend with so that I am able to know all of the various possible outcomes. 

The guys make decisions like a group of boys do. It takes forever and then it just happens. I was unable to control the situations. So, instead of frustrating myself and trying to get some control, I took the opposite approach. I gave up complete control and became a part of the group. This was odd for me because I have always been the one who goes against the group and hates the hive mentality. The reason that I was able to do this is that I trust and appreciate this group. 

Why Structure?

Structure helps me to succeed and accomplish. I am all about efficiency, even in relationships. It is calming and it helps me to learn and control my environment. I am a driven individual and I can also procrastinate quite a lot. I build structure into my life in order to achieve my, many, lofty goals. Even as a child, I was analytical and liked the structure. If there was a plan and my parents deviated from it. I would get upset because it had already been solidified in my mind. So, with this trip, I planned to be unplanned. Therefore my expectations were still met. This has taught me how to form a workaround to deal with my analytical structured nature when I have to interact in an unstructured environment and people who are “go with the flow.” 

Do you need structure? What does control mean to you? How do you deal with an unstructured environment? How do you relate to efficiency? 

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

Email me at evilholmess@gmail.com

Give me a follow on Instagram @evi.l.holmes 

Follow me on twitter @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

Traveling With My Sisters (An Introvert in Unknown Territories)

“I Read; I Travel; I Become” – Derick Walcott

Most of my traveling starts and ends between the covers and endpaper of my favorite books. However, there are times when it is necessary to move this corporeal body to a different location. And what does this mean? Airports. 

I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to three different continents, eleven countries, and 29 states. These trips have been beneficial as I think about writing and what I now know of the world. So, although I enjoy the comfort of my own how, I see the value of travel and enjoy where I am when I get there.

Leaving New York

My grandparents drove us to the airport early in the morning and dropped us off. We did the normal waiting in lines, getting our tickets and giving our luggage, waiting in lines, going through security, finding our gate, waiting in lines, and then, finally, boarding the giant plain. Once we were on the plane we figured we would be off within the hour. However, this was not to be the case. There was ice on the plane and a false negative in one of the door locks so we sat on the tarmac for two and a half hours before we finally took off for our 14-hour flight. 

I was getting worried at this point because our layover in South Africa was only three hours. We figured we would make up time in the air but it proved not to be enough. We landed in South Africa and as we were waiting to get off the plane we knew that the chances of our getting on the next flight were slimmer and slimmer. Once we had gotten off of the plane we had to get on a bus when we asked the lady in charge and showed her our ticket she told us we should have been on the bus that had just left. So, we got on the next one. When we reached the airport a man with a walky-talky had us run through the whole airport to try to get on the flight. We had almost run through the whole airport when we were told that the flight had left. 

A Night in the South Africa Airport

As you can guess, there was no other flight to Livingstone that day. So, we were stuck in the airport for 24 hours. We got a room in the airport hotel and they gave us meal vouchers. This was helpful because we could get showers and work on switching to African time. We ate at the same restaurant for the next three meals and had to go through security every time we wished to eat. But, the beds were comfortable and the food wasn’t bad. 

Arrival: My Parents Waving Through the Open Gate

The next day we got on our plane. It was a short flight that had been the separation between us and Zambia. We were at the very back of the plane since we had been added late and there were 24 empty seats behind us. This was not a popular flight. 

We landed in Livingstone and went to get our visa. We were at the end of the line. By the time we got to the conveyor belt all of our bags were off the belt and sitting on the floor. We picked up our bags and put them on a trolley. Then we went to the gate and saw our parents waiting there for us. They had seen our plane land and cross the tarmac. It was lovely to see them but I was completely exhausted from all of the travel and the airports. 

Airports and People

I love watching people and observing them but I do not like crowds. It is interesting though, I enjoy airports when I have other people as a buffer. My sisters were there with me and I could get them to do most of the talking because they are extroverts. Until they decided to have me talk to the guy at the desk and ask him a question we had already asked and I knew the answer to. This is where there are conflicts and stress for an introvert such as myself. 

I do, however, enjoy imagining who people are, where they are from, and why they might be in the South African airport. Overall the travel on the way to Zambia was much less “introvert exhausting” than I had worried it would be prior to my travels. This step outside of my comfort zone was well worth it and showed me that all I really need is a travel companion. 

Where Else to Get Material for Stories and Observe People than in the Real World?

I have always found humans intriguing, that is part of why psychology and personality types are so interesting to me. I love to observe how family units interact, how couples argue, and how strangers become friends. I cannot do this within my own head and that is where the real world comes into play. 

As a writer, it is wonderful to take a moment outside of my head and see new sights, smell new smells, taste new food, and meet new people, no matter how exhausting it may be. I use everything I see as material for my stories and people in my life get roles in the theatre of my mind that spills onto the page. 

Where would you like to travel in the world? What world would you go to if you could jump into a novel? What is your favorite place in the world?

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

Email me at evilholmess@gmail.com

Give me a follow on Instagram @evi.l.holmes 

Follow me on twitter @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

Before the Beginning (An Introvert In Unknown Territories)

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”- Neale Donald Walsh

How did I arrive at this month and a half of living outside my comfort zone and why did I choose to do it? 

I am so glad you asked!

As you know if you have been following the blog, I am an introvert. Shocking, I know, an introverted writer with a blog. So, what makes me different? And how does that affect this series? 

I am an introvert that grew up in a family of five extroverts. They have always pushed me and though, at the time, I did not appreciate the discomfort at the time, I believe I have grown from the experience.

In business, they have stretch goals. These stretch goals should be a part of everyone’s life. Almost every time I have been stretched in my life, the results have been beneficial. As an introvert, it can be difficult to push myself outside of my comfort zone and sometimes to leave my house, so I have to constantly push myself in order to grow outside of my own safe space. 

As I am living on my own and navigating relationships with other people that are not my family, I find myself outside of my comfort zone more and more. I need to put myself in situations where I would need to grow so that I can, not only, get outside of my comfort zone, but instead expand my comfort zone. 

If I ever want to get into a relationship I need to learn to loosen up and get outside of my comfort zone because my future significant other will most definitely be outside of my comfort zone. (There will be more about this throughout the series)

What did I actually decide to do?

Over winter break I took three trips. I started by visiting my friend in Virginia. Then I flew to Africa to visit my parents, with my two sisters. Finally, I flew to Wisconsin to visit some more friends. 

Now, I am a planner. I don’t like surprises and I usually planned for anything and everything to go wrong. This break I did not plan much at all. I knew, generally, where I was going. I knew my flights and where I would be when and that was it. I didn’t know where I would be sleeping. I knew nothing about my friend’s houses. I asked no one what we would do when I was there. I completely let go of control in every situation. 

This was terrifying for a planner like me. However, I have grown through this experience and I cannot wait to share it with you. 

When was a time that you stepped out of your comfort zone? How did it go?

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

My Twitter is @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

New Friends…..Oh, No! (An Introvert in Unknown Territories)

Authors note: “This is the first post in a series about introversion and how that is affected by different things. Over the last month and a half, I have intentionally put myself outside of my comfort zone. So, this series will focus on what happened and my experience. I’ll do it so you don’t have to. But I am hoping that my experiences will encourage you to take the first step outside of your comfort zone because that is how you grow.” #outsidemybubble

At the beginning of this school year I, accidentally, made a new friend. He is an extrovert. I grew up with five extroverts, I’ll be fine. With extroverts, it is all about doses. If you can getaway. 

This extrovert is one of the ones that really does know everyone on campus. So, hanging out with him means I started to actually get to know people and even worse they started to know me. I had lost some of my invisible nature. 

I now have a group of “friends” and it is a rather interesting experience. I can honestly say that I have never really been a part of a group. It is exhausting. This past weekend, I spent way too much time with people. I was with people almost 100% of the time that I was awake. 

Now, as an introvert, spending this much time with people (especially groups of them) for any amount of time is taxing. They were interesting but I am paying for the interactions now.

I am normally a morning person (this is a little bit off because of college but I tend to go to sleep by 11 pm). However, I stayed up to 2:30 am on Friday and got up at 1:30 pm on Saturday. This is highly abnormal and I know exactly why I needed the extra sleep. 

I feel like every drop of energy has been drained from my body and all I want to do is sleep for 24 hours and stay away from humans for as long as possible. 

So, are friends worth it? Are groups even an option, for an introvert?

I have found that there are people that do not drain me, they do exist (and I have found some lovely ones). These are the people that I gravitate towards. There are some who I deem “blood-sucking energy vampires.” I try to avoid them at all costs. This semester I made friends with an extrovert like that and I had to push her away because it was too much. 

It is great to have non-draining extroverts but not in groups. Unfortunately, they like to be in groups. Groups are an option but in moderation. You must be aware that you will feel drained after any interaction, and I am sure you are already aware of this. Do not overdo it. Even if you find people that are not super draining, take care of yourself and do not overdo it. You will pay and be completely wiped out like I am right now. It will take weeks for me to be myself again. 

Boundaries are necessary and usually something that I am good at. However, I have been in a mode and mindset of growth. This means I am letting people into my life and although this is a healthy and good thing, it can be draining so awareness is key.

Not every group of people is completely exhausting but the time spent with any group needs to be offset with alone time, or you will sleep for ages. 

Do you feel drained by people? Are there people that you feel like you can talk to forever without feeling drained?

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

My Twitter is @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

Changing Yourself to Meet the Changes that are Thrown Your Way

There have been and continue to be many changes in my life in the last year and the year to come. I have dealt with, and am still dealing with, the grief of the loss of a loved one. My parents are going to be moving to a different country within the next two months. My closest sibling lives six hours away from me and many of my friends live more than a 12-hour drive from me. We can all be overwhelmed at times but for someone who does not know how to process any type of feeling and can be catastrophic. 

Moving on: Grief

Love is an interesting thing. It opens you up to the possibility of loss. When you love someone you give them the ability to hurt you. This does not mean that you should close yourself off. I know that grief can hurt and when you lose someone you love it is like the world is shaken and you are knocked off your feet. I have been dealing with grief and the ups and downs of trying to feel in the midst of all of this pain. There are so many thoughts swirling around in the darkness of my mind. However, through this loss, I have gained myself and I am learning to build my emotions back up after a fall. 

Moving on: Being left behind

My parents are leaving the country. They will be over 20 hours away by plane. This is going to be very tough to transition to. They will be there for at least the next 3 years. This will take some growth and learning in order to be independent. I have the ability to cut myself off from all of my emotions. This seems good at first but eventually, it turns into something dark. I will have to mature greatly in the next few months to deal with this new situation. 

Moving on: Separation

Relationships are not easy and they are even more difficult when distance and time are put in between them. I made many new friends this year but a great deal of them live far away. I miss them dearly and it will be months before I see them again. You would think that things would be fine because of technology and the connectivity of this day and age but some of them are awful communicators. It makes me anxious at times and sad at others but I would rather know them and be miles apart then never know them at all. 

Open yourself up to the world and to people. Yes, you will get hurt. It is not a matter of if but of when. You will have to grieve but that grief will give birth to something new that you did not realize that you needed. Just because it seems like people are moving on and going somewhere where you can’t follow does not mean that they are truly leaving you behind. No matter how much it hurts to love someone, it is better than cutting yourself off completely. 

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi L. Holmes

Back To School: Update

It has been a while since I was able to post on here and I am sorry for that. My life is currently hectic and crazy. I am back at University and that means that my time is rather limited. This means I will, unfortunately, be less able to post every week as I would like to. Instead of the long-form posts, I have been making, instead, I might write shorter posts to keep engaging with you, my audience. 

What is happening in my life.

As I stated earlier I am back at university and therefore quite busy. I am taking an overload of credits as well as maintaining a job and extracurricular activities. This leaves me very little time to write for fun. (I am currently jotting this down waiting for a class to start in five minutes). You will be glad to know that I am still writing quite a lot. I am taking some reading and writing-intensive courses so this should help to improve my writing for your benefit. I will try to be more diligent about doing small posts on random thoughts that I have but bare with me this semester. It is going to be a bumpy ride. 

Some stuff that is a little bit more exciting

I am working on some creative writing pieces whenever I can get a chance to. I am not going to go into much detail about what they are but just know I have things in the works. I will do an update post on my other work very soon. 

What do you want to see me write about?

I would love your input on any aspect of my writing. What do you want me to write about? Do you like the long-form better or would you prefer shorter posts that you could read quickly? Please feel free to comment or email me any ideas you have or what you would like me to talk about. 

Are you back in school? Are you excited or dreading this semester?

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi. L. Holmes

Tolkien Movie Review and Other Thoughts

Yup, that’s right, It’s movie review time! *SPOILERS* duh but honestly of you have not seen this movie by now do you even like tolkien? 🙂

On Tolkien 

(this will be brief as I fully intend to write about him in great length in multiple posts.)

I just saw a wonderful movie, Tolkien. If you are unfamiliar, the movie is a story about Tolkien’s life from late childhood to early adulthood. He is a brilliant Author, as anyone who has read his work can attest. He also was a brilliant Philologist. His ability with language was astounding and quite useful in has fantasy novels. Because of his gifts, he was able to create a whole language and fragments of others for his stories.  He has inspired and influenced many authors and much of the modern Fantasy genre has been shaped by his work, and is one of the many influnces on my own writing and a reason I write at all.

Cinematic Artistry and Visual Art

The depiction of how Tolkien saw the world was nothing short of epic. He saw dragons and the world of fairytales right alongside the world he was living in.  As he fought in the war there were monsters and dragons that cut through the gas in the same way that Smaug did on the misty mountain. They showed how he might have seen the world and how vast and beautiful his mind and imagination were. The visual nature of the movie helped to amplify the art that Tolkien did through sketching the world he saw in his head.

Writing, Language, and Inspiration

Something amazing the movie taught me was that language, culture, and history are inextricably linked. The way that Tolkien would come up with a word and that word had a whole story behind it and a specific story was mesmerizing. Language follows culture, the way we move our mouth and tongue as we speak, whether the sound is harsh, guttural, or lilted, and the myths, lore, and legends, they are all tied together beautifully and create such diversity among languages. The geography can even determine the sounds of speech. I have always wanted to create my own language but never got into it because I did not know where to start. The movie gave me an idea to just come up with a word and then write a story about it and eventually I will get used to that. Then I can begin to build the music and culture behind the language that builds the fabric of the world which created it. The ability to think of a word and make a world from the one little combination of letters has opened up a brand new way of writing and so many doors to new worlds that were always in my brain but I had no tools to write.

Acting and Characters

The actors who depicted him were brilliant in the masterful portrayal of a fantastical minded man. Nicholas Holt and Harry Gilby did a fantastic job of portraying the same person with continuity and such similarities that created an accurate depiction of how Tolkien might have been. I have always wished to have been born a boy and I think that part of this is because of my personality not fitting as a girl (but truthfully I would not fit as a boy either) and also because of the groups of boys and young men who had a certain bond that women just do not seem to acquire. This was portrayed in this movie. The group of school boys that Tolkien hung out with was a soceity unto itself. I love these kinds of relationships and this society forshadows the writing group the Tolkien would later be a part of alongside or C.S. Lewis. That group was called the Inklings.

Conclusion

Tolkien is such an inspiration so it is unsurprising that a movie about him would be inspirational. It is always a treat to see the person behind a really wonderful story and that is what the movie was able to do. It was also so helpful to see a potential way that he saw the world and how seeing things differently is not always a bad thing and it can actually be a defining feature and your greatest asset. There are common themes that I see in his life, in my life, and in the life of many writers that showed me that regardless of where I am in my journey I am still a writer. Many people do not realize that he did not publish Lord of the Rings until he was in his sixties. My take away is that everyone’s journey is different. In the words of Aslan (I know its Lewis and not Tolkien, but hey it fits) “things never happen the same way twice.” There will be things along the journey that mold you and events will always be different for you than for someone else. Do not compare to others but let their stories and experiences guide your own.

Personal Thoughts

This movie was part of the reason I got back into writing. It is rather difficult to stay in the same type of work for an extended period of time. I have so many interests and I tend to bounce around in them. This movie was able to show me that I want writing to be what I do primarily. This blog is only a small piece of this. Part of the reason I only publish once a week is because I am worldbuilding and writing some fantasty stories as well. I hope to publish some short stories but is difficult to get anywhere if I split my time between too many things. If I can publish a book then I will have more time to do all my writing because I will not have to work another job. Once I am done with school I hope to publish and then hopefully be able to give you some short stories. The most important thing is that I intend to write and continue writing. I only hope that someone will care enough to read my work.

What do you love about Tolkien? What did you think of the moview Tolkien?

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas. I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi. L. Holmes

Don’t Let Your Dreams be Dreams- Make Yourself a Success Story

“I’ve met some folks who say that I’m a dreamer, and I’ve no doubt there’s truth in what they say”

I have always been a dreamer, for as long as I can remember. I have always gotten lost in the worlds that my favorite authors created just for me. I could see myself in the characters that they depicted. Hermione with her tangled mane of hair, her strong attitude, and her brilliant brain. I often say that I am the person Hermione would have become if she went through middle school without Ron and Harry but the truth is I had them and I had her as well. I always had a world, of my choosing, to slip away to.

Then as I got older, I could create my own. I had always thought up stories but I had never really written them down. Every night, before I fall asleep, I envision the world as I wish it to be or I create a story. I am a thinker and a dreamer, a realist and an idealist. 

There have been many people who have tried to shut me down and say that my dreams would only ever be dreams. My brother beats up on my dreams pretty much any time I bring them up. My mother and father sometimes speak against my dreams but that has become less frequent. They either see that I am serious about my passions or I have satisfied enough of their need for security that they do not care what I do in my free time. I think that they see my passion though. They have always told me to keep my passions as hobbies and do them while I have a “real job” but I do not understand the point of doing something that you hate every day so that you can keep living to do the thing that you hate every day

The truth is that you can make your life what you want it to be. You can be happy in your job and furthermore you should be. It is okay to do a job that you hate for a little while until you get your footing but eventually, you have to take a leap of faith. 

Those who succeed in life have Four things in common. 

One: Risk Takers

It is very difficult to get anywhere without incurring some type of risk. Living is a risky business but what is the worst that could happen? Will it be worse if you do or worse if you don’t. Regret is a tough thing to swallow. It often gets stuck in your throat. You think that it is gone and you can’t feel it for a while and then one day you swallow and realize that it never really went anywhere. You will always wonder what could have happened if you had put yourself out there and tried for what you wanted. The worst thing that happens is, you don’t get what you wanted but the best that could happen is you get all you dreamed of. If you don’t put yourself out their then the best thing that could happen is, you don’t get what you want but at least you are safe. Right? Those who have succeeded had to make the first move. They put themselves out there so that they could tackle their dreams.

Two: Fail Quickly Fail Often

There is nothing wrong with failure just like there is nothing wrong with obstacles. Obstacles build character and they form you into the person that you need to be. They mold you and in the end, make you better. Failure is similar in that it shows what not to do. They are all learning experiences. You want to fail often towards the beginning of your career or whatever it is that you are doing. This helps you to figure out what to do and what not to do and the faster you get a handle on this, the better. You want to fail early because this will help you not to fail later when it could be more catastrophic. 

Three: Get up and Go

When they fail they pick themselves up and keep on going. Sometimes even harder than they did before. Those failures and obstacles develop perseverance and that perseverance helps them get through the next obstacle. They have to be driven and create something out of nothing, whether that is structure, an invention, or a system that will help organize something greater than themselves. People who are driven have passion and they really want what they are chasing. If you don’t want it you might as well forget it. I know what you are thinking, Well, of course, I want it you are so silly Evi, why would I be here if I didn’t. But you have to let it be your sense of purpose. The thing that gives you life and that truly makes you happy.

Four: Practice, Practice, And guess what? Practice

If you really want it then you will practice. Let it consume you. It is said that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. So, I suggest you get started. Whatever it is, you must practice. Start small if you have to. Carve out a set amount of time each day and make it consistent. Form a habit out of it. It could be 15 minutes or 2 hours. Maybe you start with fifteen minutes and add an extra minute each day until you get to 2 hours. Do what works for you but do not wait until tomorrow. If you do, tomorrow will never come. Successful people think about what they want to do all the time. They carve out time at meals or on breaks from their jobs, in between classes or while they are sitting on the toilet. Saying that you do not have time is usually just an excuse. Make time and practice.

There are statistics and odds of how successful you could become but the outliers are the ones who taste real success. They are successful in the area of their choosing. My favorite author, Brandon Sanderson said, in a lecture that writing is not as big of a long shot as people make it out to be. He, of course, is absolutely brilliant and made it sooner than most and in a very big way but those in his writing group also make a living as writers. If you are passionate about something, if you have a dream don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t and if they do, prove them wrong. That is my intention as I write. Every word is a defiance of what people have told me that I could not do. There are so many people who say that you should follow your dreams but all it takes is one person’s negative comments to make you lose hope. Do not let them have that power and rob the world of your passion.

North Star

Dream on little start 

Don’t let your light go out

The moon may eclipse you

Hide you from view

But we know you shine still

Dream on little start

Even though you’re alone

In the deep dark of space

So far from the home

Dream on little star

We see you shimmer

You may feel small

And think you grow dimmer

Dream on little star

You think you are small

But in reality, you are

The Brightest of all

What are your dreams and your passions? Tell me a story of when someone told you that you couldn’t? Did you do it anyway? Have you reached your dream?

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi. L. Holmes

The Beauty of Being Broken

We all go through times of pain and heartbreak. They may scary by degree but they happen to us all. The question we all must ask ourselves is: How do we respond when tragedy strikes and we are left with the rug ripped out from underneath us? This is difficult to assess realistically when we have not yet experienced loss or pain to an extreme degree. 

I recently lost someone whom I loved very deeply and this has changed my perspective on a lot of things. The biggest changes that I see in myself are the fact that I want to do something with the time that I have and not take a moment for granted and how I have gone back to the thing I am most passionate about writing. We are not just a speck on a rock hurtling through space. We are something more than that. We can make someone’s day or change someone’s world without even knowing it and although I do not care about most people, I realize that there are many more people whom I could extend my love to if only I gave myself the license and the platform to share my ideas and myself with others. 

Truth be told I find it quite difficult to write these blog posts because I have so many other things happening in my “real life.” I also find it difficult to write because my brain is so full of thoughts that I have no idea where to start. This often keeps me from writing when I really should. So I will try to write whatever is my most pressing thought and table other topics for other times. Writing is a place where I can be as rational or as creative as I want and the loss that I feel will only fuel the flame of my passion, even though it hurts like hell.

The Crossroad

When we are hit by loss, tragedy, or any kind of struggle, we are presented with a choice. Do we give up or do we push harder? These are always the two options, they always exist, in every moment. However, sometimes they are pushed to the front of our minds. I am a very stubborn person. I know what I want and I know how to get it but there have been times when I have had to give up on things. Neither is always the right choice or always the wrong choice. It is situational. 

I had a friend once who became toxic in my life. He would not leave me alone and he kept dragging me down into a depression. I cut him out for a couple of months and then I came back to him. I thought that somehow, after all the crap that he had put me through, he still had the answers and wanted to help me. It was fine for a week and then we fell right back into the same patterns. It was a toxic relationship. Finally, I quit. I chose to move on and forsake whatever he had to offer. In this situation, quitting was the right choice. 

In the situation I am currently in, with the loss, I could choose to give up, to say life was meaningless without this person whom I loved. The other option is to live my life to the fullest, make my mark on the world, and live my life to honor their memory and their vision. I choose the latter. 

Each situation is different and each decision is a defining moment that can alter the course of one’s life. You have a choice to walk down one path or the other and there is always a better choice you just need to find it.

The Ripple Affect

When tragedy strikes, it has a ripple effect. Something happens to one’s person and that affects everyone they know to varying degrees and then it affects the next layer and then the next. We do not realize how interconnected our lives are with others. You may not think that you have an effect on other people’s lives but, trust me, you do. 

Think of how many people have influenced your life. Think of all the people who you talk to in a month. Think of all the people who know who you are, even superficially. You affect each and every one of them in some way. Your grief becomes their grief. Your loss becomes their loss.

An INTJ Female in the State of Grief

I am fortunate that this is the first person close to me who has left me in my life. I do not have a lot of experience with grief, however, I can talk about the last two weeks and how I have responded to the current grief I feel. 

When I first found out, I felt my world come crashing down. I did not want to be in a world where this person did not exist. I was angry, and I went through all five stages of grief in the first five minutes. I was told that I would most likely go through them again, however, I have yet to do so. Most people would look at me and think that nothing was wrong. I always look a little upset, so it is nothing out of the ordinary. At work, only those I have told know that I am in pain at all. The first day back I am sure I acted strangely, but that was over within three days. I work, I drive myself harder than before (which I was quite driven before). My brain overflows with the outcry of my heart, but nobody knows. 

When I do tell people they say, “I am so sorry,” “I am sorry for your loss,” and “that is awful,” and I have no idea how to respond. People want to hug me, and I hate hugs. I have given more hugs in the last two weeks than all of 2019 leading up to them, some felt obligatory and some felt like home. I have never been one for sympathy, sympathy won’t bring this person back. This is part of why I play it down but I also have put those feelings on a shelf and I take them out piece by piece, digesting as I can, in the privacy of my car while listening to one of their favorite songs or once I see my family and we can cry together. 

The most important thing is to let oneself grieve. Crying is okay. I do not like crying in front of people but crying is a release. Whenever I tell someone what happened, I cannot help but cry because they help me by taking a piece of my burden and it is a release. When you drop a stone in a lake, the inside is hurt the most and the epicenter of the disaster. Then the water ripples out, the next people take a weaker version of the pain and eventually, the water stills from the inside out until everyone is able to move forward, but no one will forget the rock that started the waves. 

Scatter the Ashes and be a Phoenix

Yes, you must grieve but you also need to rise and move forward. Scar tissue is stronger than regular skin, it may hurt now but in the end, it will make you stronger and build your character (it also builds your backstory). The most important takeaway is to grow from whatever you are experiencing and let it mold you in the best way imaginable. Find out what you are passionate about and just do it. You only have one life to live and you never know how much time you will be given. Take every opportunity and make it the best one. 

Here is a short thought that I wrote a couple of days ago:

The beauty of being Broken

Is in putting yourself back 

Piece by piece

There will always be 

Cracks and fissures

But you have the chance

To build yourself up

With steel

Instead of porcelain

What are some tough choices that you have had to make? Do you think you made the right one? Are you a Phoenix? Did you quit a situation that was not in your best interest?

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

-Evi. L. Holmes