Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

You must fail to be satisfied

When you fail at something, you may feel like there is nothing to be gained; however, I am here to illustrate an occasion when I took a risk that incurred a loss, but sparked a fire that changed my life.

Photo Courtesy of the Public Domain

Photo Courtesy of the Public Domain

I often shoot for unattainable goals. It is just who I am. I tend to overestimate myself in order to psych myself into pursuing loftier dreams, and I used this mindset when I applied for the Young Scholars Program in 2013, a competitive research program for gifted science high school students in Florida. While I technically met the academic qualifications, I applied a year before the program recommends, as a sophomore instead of a junior. Naturally I was rejected, so I moved on, like most people would.

Here’s the key – I did not move on all the way.

Sometimes we want what we can’t have… yet. I would like to urge you, dear friend, to want uncontrollably and try repeatedly to achieve what you desire. You may be surprised at the luck the universe is willing to offer those who don’t give up. Life is there to live. It should not represent a collection of missed opportunities.

So, I applied to the program again a year later, and was accepted after my second try. My qualifications were stronger, but I was also much more emotionally ready to spend six weeks away from home with 39 strangers, who quickly became excellent peers of mine. Also, I was blessed with the company of humans that allowed me to think more positively in life and to challenge my perceptions every day for the better. I also met my best friend at the program, which I accredit solely to the fact that I pushed to create a stronger second application, and accepted possible rejection in the quest for a tried-and-failed goal. In the end, nothing was more empowering than knowing I could do something that I could not do before.

We have to take risks to change, to fall in love, and to discover we are more tenacious than we even imagined. Try and try and try until you get it, whatever it is you are chasing. Perhaps we learn what we really want and how hard we are willing to work only after we fail. Without risking failure, we could never succeed, and without failing, we could never desire making improvements toward obtaining success. Forget the past and aim confidently for the future – your world could change in an instance as long as you remain fearless.

Diagnosis: Writing Anxiety

Everyone has some form of downtime to partake in. I know people who play the flute, read, paint, draw, illustrate, dance, and sing. However, the form of downtime my friends and I share is one special activity: writing.

I suppose I should expect to have a bunch of writer friends; I edit for all of my school’s publications, and a lot of young people thoroughly enjoy writing. I did not expect, however, to experience the reluctance some writers have for sharing their work with others.

 

Just do it.

Just do it. (Still from Sprint commercial). Source: http://www.cultofandroid.com/15519/sprint-starts-say-no-to-sharing-campaign-against-shared-data-plans/

 

Plenty of my friends write, though I have never read a single piece of work by them. On the other hand, I have looked over a handful of friends’ creative writing and reporting pieces. The question that is bothering me is logical: what separates the open writers from the closed?

I have decided that all of us, regardless of our extroversion as writers, face some level of writing anxiety. I fall somewhere in the middle of the open-closed spectrum: while I frequently share my writing with people, I always feel a bit nervous in doing so; I am afraid that they may critique it harshly or worse, not critique it at all. Also, some pieces are easier for me to broadcast than others. I can squelch writing anxiety to a degree.

Perhaps all writers have writing anxiety, even those of us who share words with other people. It is indisputable that we are all secretly afraid of being criticized for our opinions and viewpoints. Still, some of us share our works hoping that we will learn from other people’s comments, while others feel that outside feedback is unnecessary. This does not mean closed writers are more confident in their artistry, but they may not feel a desire to be validated by other writers on something that is so personally connected to them.

 

Don't touch my writing!

Don’t touch my writing! Source: http://mrwgifs.com/no-touchy-kuzco-kronk-in-emperors-new-groove-gif/

 

Truthfully, it is fine to not want to share your writing. For me, writing helps me reason with myself. It is something I do instinctively every day, and I often enjoy the result of the activity. If someone read literally everything I ever wrote they would probably understand my thought process to an unnatural point, which would make our situation as friends rather uncomfortable. Though we all love feedback, especially the positive and constructive kinds, writing is more than an attention trap; it is an art, and it is a form of expression. When you critique someone’s writing, you draw attention to their thought process or view of the world, and then point out its flaws. This process is painfully difficult to accept for lots of people, sensitive or not, so not exposing their worlds to people for feedback is a perfectly appropriate method of self-defensive for many writers. They are simply protecting the one thing people will never be able to fully have access to: their minds.

One final note: when people reveal that they do not want to share their writing, realize they may have writing anxiety, but don’t share your pity – respect their privacy.

Do you have trouble sharing your writing with other people? 

Don’t be a victim of indirect body shaming

Body shaming can be direct and indirect.

Body shaming can be direct and indirect. Source: http://chaoticsoulzzz.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/thin-n-fat.jpg?w=705

 

“Ugh, I feel soooo fat today.”

I have heard this line uttered on several occasions by slim young women, all rubbing their stomachs, scrunching their eyebrows and staring into judgmental mirrors.

This phrase is toxic. When a girl much slimmer than me says it with complete disregard for who is around her, I assume that since she is “fat” I am “obese” and must be defined by body shame that I did not ask for.

I have coined this effect “indirect body shaming;” it is when some type of mutual body negativity sparked from either ignorance or inner self-hatred occurs. When a bystander hears this type of comment, he or she internalizes it and begins to judge him or herself.

Is it too much to ask to stop the madness? Although I have heard this comment, and variations of it, countless times, I have never confronted the body-shamers. Perhaps I felt powerless, as I was indirectly attacked for nothing more than being my natural size. Perhaps I wanted to comfort the people in question, but realized it may all just be a ploy to get a few people to compliment them, saying “oh no, you’re beautiful! Stay strong.”

 

Demi Lovato popularized the phrase "stay strong." Now many teenage women say it to each other in times of crisis. Is this phrase overused?

Demi Lovato popularized the phrase “stay strong.” Now many teenage women say it to each other in times of crisis. Is this phrase overused? Source: http://cdn2.thegloss.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/demi-lovato1.jpg

 

While I completely encourage young women to support each other through times of difficulty, stress, or poor self-image, women should not feel the need to slam their shapes just to receive positive remarks. Frankly, it only hurts people – including ourselves.

I often attempt to help people accept their body insecurities by complimenting others whenever possible. I also try to be as confident in my looks as I can be in order to avoid the damage indirect body shaming causes. I figure that if I can spread body positivity, and encourage others to do the same, this type of accidental blindside attack will eventually be eradicated.

Instead of worrying about that slice of cheesecake you ate today at The Cheesecake Factory, smile at the fact that it tasted really, really good, and then tell someone how much you like her shoes or new hairstyle. Body-shaming is viral; compliments are infectious. Let’s work together to indirectly help people feel admired, not ashamed.