Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blog Response: Rocco

No one likes to cry. We tend to hold it in until a more convenient time or until it builds up and explodes. Or we replace it with humor, alcohol, or drugs. But when we do cry, it feels good. Crying is cathartic, it’s the release of heavy duty emotion. And yet, when certain people do it (i.e. men) it doesn’t come across that way. At least to some people. 

This might be because I’m a woman, but I think it’s sexy when a man cries. It shows their vulnerability. They’re not a wall of steel, their a fleshy, soft human being. And it’s unfortunate that gender norms have brainwashed us to think that men should be the almighty powerhouse with no time for sentiments and emotion. 

I think it’s going to be interesting to delve into this idea of men writing to heal. Take any poem written by a man and you can see how much emotional baggage they carry, and how beautifully they can convey that. There’s a song by Kendrick Lamar (the name escapes me) where he cries while rapping. It’s pretty powerful and I never thought he was a sissy for doing so. 

I’m friends with a lot of guys and I’ve seen a few of them cry, but not all. They never par take in drama, or gossip with their friends, or even tell their friends about this cute girl their seeing. In the end, men and women and two completely different creatures and we handle our emotions differently. 

Blog Response: Ivy

Death is such a weird thing. Everyone does it, it’s the natural cycle of life. And yet, when it happens we’re often an emotional wreak. Why are we sad? They’re only doing what their suppose to do. No one is immortal. Maybe we’re selfish and don’t want to let go. Maybe it’s because we don’t know what happens after death. 

The emotional threshold to death depends on how and when the person died. For example, Moran’s sister disappeared for quite sometime, leaving her family constantly wondering if she was dead or alive. The suspense soon turned to heartbreak when they found her remains. In my experience, death was even stranger when my Pop Pop died of Alzheimer’s. It’s like he gradually disappear, making his death a lot more bearable. 

The way we take in and process death is cultural, spiritual, and psychological. It’s a huge event almost every has experience or eventually will. Talking to family and friends, going for a walk, flipping though photo albums, and writing are all great ways to come to terms with death.

Moran’s studies show just how powerful writing can be academically and therapeutically. I wonder if someone did a study on writing majors versus business or science majors to see if writing majors were less stressed, overwhelmed, and confused in their identity with emotion (or bland academic papers for that matter). It’s a completely different type of writing, it’s almost like an art. It’s a fun way of expressing yourself life with art or music. Just listen to the lyrics of a song or observe the hues of blue in a painting, their both trying to achieve a state of acceptance with whatever event or trauma just happened. 

Blog Response: Kayleigh

This was absolutely fascinating. I remember learning about all of this in high school and this was a great refresher. 

Now for melding these concepts with writing and healing. I feel like almost everyone takes similarities or coincidences as a sign for something like true love. Even dreams make you wonder if you that was a sign or some sort of foreshadowing. 

Now this might get a little personal, but I have a story that has to do with the subconscious and dreams and this psychological fun. And since this is writing and healing, why not put it to good use. 

Over Thanksgiving Break I dreamt three nights in a row that the guy I’m dating cheated on me with other girls. I woke up in the morning so confused. Why did I dream that? Is my unconscious telling me to get out now before I actually get hurt? 

Sadly enough, that dream was pretty actuate. He didn’t cheat on me, but he divulged that he didn’t want a relationship because he wanted the freedom to see other girls. BAM, and their you have it. The magic of the unconscious. I did some writing in my journal to get all of my thoughts out about the situation, and funny enough I came to a collective unconscious conclusion that his animal instinct just wants to spread his sperm around in order to continue the human race, while I want a child and someone to protect my family. I also thought that it might have to do with the fact that he had so much in common with me as well as my father (uh oh, some crazy Freudian psychology goin’ on here). 

Anyway, when we write, we might come to a point where we look at the psychological logistics of trauma or what have you. It offers another perspective that might explain why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. It might not make that much sense, in fact, it might seem absurd, but it does heal you with an explanation. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Blog Response: Amiee

Tara DaPra’s piece bought me back to the Autobiography class I took last semester. Our professor said from day one, “This class should really be called Memoir, because autobiographies and memories are two completely different things.” Rather than write a chronological overview of our life, she asked us to focus on one significant theme in our life. Just like DaPra write, the draft of my memoire was essentially like a diary. I let it all out, plain and simple. It wasn’t until after I read through my word vomit that I noticed threads.

It was a pretty cool moment when I realized, “Wow! My life is like a novel!” The writing process reminds me of a puzzle—all the pieces jumbled up in a box (metaphorically speaking, the box is your mind, the puzzle pieces your significant life events). Its when you Tbegin to sort the pieces into categories that you see a fraction of the big picture. 

I’m sure there are a lot memoires that have served as a therapeutic balance in the writer’s life. And there are those, like Lucy Grealy, that envision their work as art. Either way, art and therapy go hand-in-hand. Ultimately, it’s what the writer wants that will determine their work’s fate. Unfortunately, readers read in black and white. They’re not programed to know exactly what the writer intended. We make a lot of assumptions and judgements about the writer meant, but we’ll never really know unless we ask. 

As for the Veterans Project piece, it was interesting to see how many veterans sought out this creative outlet in writing. If they were to ever publish a memoir, it would clearly be for therapeutic reasons rather than literary. That also makes me wonder what the therapeutic difference is between writing and publishing. Does sending your work out into the public have a bigger impact on the writer? Is the healing greater? That might be something interesting to consider in your research. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Blog Response: Lauren

I remember talking about this in my poetics class. It’s a tricky issue and I never really noticed it until recently. When I think “writer” I think “anything, anyone, anytime.” The limits are endless! I can write as a doctor, a dog, or a demon as long as I do my research. But there’s no amount of research I can do that will ever live up to the actual persona of a doctor, dog, or demon. It’s just not the same. So I now write by the motto, “write what you know.”  

When we read, we usually read something so well-written that we don’t even realize the woman or colored character is seen/voiced through the mind of a white man. We’re invested and convinced, hardly questioning unless it’s analyzing the themes in our English class. 

While I agree with a lot of the suggestions made in the advice column, the one that sticks out most for me is “to work toward good writing regardless of your subject matter…choosing complexity over obvious.” I think Anonymous should take the letter he wrote and turn it into a poem. Incidentally, he’s got himself a great writing and healing project. He sounds like he’s a wounded, hopeless writer from this new generation of activism and equality. 

I read one poem from Jaded Magazine that paired really well with advice letter. It’s called “How Reflections Share One Voice” by Kamry Sharnay, and some lines really stuck out to me like “we unknowingly give that voice the permission to steal our identities” and “We forget who we are when we lose our voice.” The former clearly alludes to the issue at hand—white writers writing from the perspective of women, POC, or LGBT, while the latter also describes the writer that he loses his voice and sense of self by speaking for another. But this could also go vice verse. 

Blog Response: Charlotte

All three sources were interesting and had to do with emotional intelligence (obviously), so I’ll just try to combine it all and sense of it as best as I can. 

I’ll start with the article from Psychology Today—totally mind blown! I wish I knew about this sooner (then again, maybe I knew it all along but was too lazy to take action). But like the author says, we all hide our emotions and a lot of the time it can lead to bad stuff…

I’d say I’m a pretty “codependent” person. Whenever someone asks me how I’m doing I give them a half-assed two-word response and go back to them. I know I shouldn’t do that, but I know they won’t listen to me anyway because they’d rather talk about their day. I like making people feel comfortable and content, so I sacrifice sharing my life and feelings. 

Last year, I learned that such a mentality was actually super harmful, traumatic even, and living with four girls, all my friends, all PMSing, and all concealing their feelings was a recipe for disaster. In the end, confrontation was the culprit. None of us had the guts to tell someone to do the dishes or take out the trash. In my case, two of my closes friends started to ignore me and treat my like scum and I had no idea why. It came to the point that I never wanted to go back to my apartment for fear of seeing either of them. I was too scared to ask them and I guess they were too scared to tell me what I was doing wrong. It’s sad to think that all these tucked away emotions were the reason I lost my friends. 

That’s why I think it’s so important to teach emotional literacy in schools (here’s where the other two articles come in!). Confrontation, is probably the hardest thing in the history of the world. You have your story and they have theirs and you both think your right and the other is the bad guy. It’s a complicated talk and most people don’t have the emotional energy to go through such tug-of-war argument. Fights, separation, and a lingering anger are the result. So why not ease the pain and teach kids how to rationally approach such a sticky situation. It’d save them from a lot of stress and anxiety, because the older you get, the more you’re going to run into people that make you feel uncomfortable. 

Blog Response: Karen

I wonder if such a choice-driven civilization like ours has an effect on stress and anxiety levels? Do other cultures like Amish and Asian mentioned in the TED article necessarily need to write to heal? If they believe in interdependence and social harmony, then their emotional intelligence must be sky high! 

America is all about “me me me”. We all want attention. We all want our voice, opinion, and style to be heard. Social media platforms are a great way to share your personal experience as a human being and let others know how your doing, it’s off the screen where we don’t pay as much attention (and actually judge). 

In the Tolerance article it says “Dialogue requires openness to new ideas and collective learning.” Sounds a little counterintuitive to the choice culture we have here. For example, politics or racial issues seems to be a huge debate starter, but all that arrise in the stupidity of Trump or ignorance of the people who don't agree with the race protests on campus. If we were in the mindset of the Amish, perhaps we’d be more open to hearing to their side with an open mind, ergo creating a less tense and stressed out culture. 

If emotional intelligence is introduced into schools, I think that future generation of US citizens will feel more harmonious. It’s important to empathize with others and put yourself in some else shoes in a non-judgmental and open-minded way.