How to be an Introvert in College

“Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder. To search for the truth.”

Albert Einstein

 

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story.”

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

 

“The core of all my writing was probably the five free years I had there on the farm. […] The only thing we had was time and seclusion. I couldn’t have figured on it in advance. I hadn’t that kind of foresight. But it turned out right as a doctor’s prescription.”

Robert Frost

 

“Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong and the final decisions are made in silent rooms. Tell him to be different from other people if it comes natural and easy being different.”

Carl Sandburg

 

Dear P,

Happy Easter! I’ve been enjoying your snaps today.

You may not think this post applies to you, an extrovert, but I think the core of it is important for everyone. Here it is: your energy is your own. It is the most valuable resource you have. Guard it carefully.

Okay, you don’t have to read the rest of the post now.

My energy is easily depleted by communication. I am one of the more introverted people I know. This does not mean I am shy. If I have had a relaxing, solitary weekend like this one, only talking to people I love dearly, eaten properly, and slept well, then I can charm a whole group of people at a cocktail party. If my conditions are not optimal, however, my communication skills are the first to suffer until I can recharge myself.

Learning the research about introversion has helped me to accept it in myself. In “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, psychologist Susan Cain discusses how it is possible to predict whether babies will be introverts or extroverts. If you give an introverted baby a drop of lemon juice, they will produce more saliva. If you expose an introverted baby to a loud noise, they will cry more. Introverts simply require less sensory activity to keep them happy.

Outgoingness is highly valued in this country. I feel lucky that I have been forced to improve in this area, while areas that I am more naturally inclined to are not as stressed (but equally important). I am a very good listener. When I meet good talkers I am a little jealous of them at first, but I quickly become aware of how little they practice listening. I will usually pick up on important information, like group dynamics, more quickly than they do. Because I have grown up in a place where we went to go to school every day and engaged in group activities (probably the most exhausting thing an introvert can do), I find it easy to force myself to do tiring things now, like exercise and studying. I have been pushed by our culture and now I push myself through exercises like “Seen on UT Campus”.

At UT, I have learned the importance of balancing pushing myself and caring for myself. This is a big school with lots of people. Sometimes, I can’t find a place to study alone. Sometimes, I can’t even find an empty bathroom. A couple of months ago I started hyperventilating and crying in the crowd on campus because I couldn’t find a place to be by myself. Everyone stared at me, which made it worse. Now, I have carefully mapped out empty classrooms where I can study in between classes. I have not made it a priority to join groups for the sake of joining them. I am part of a neuroscience group called “Synapse”; I invest energy in my EMT class and UWC job, and besides that I keep my time for myself. I don’t go out unless I want to, which is about once every two or three weeks. Saying no to my friends when they want to party has been difficult for me, but I have to do it to stay sane. I have found that they usually understand and still have fun without me. I find it easier to socialize in planned daytime activities, like getting lunch or exercising with friends. I don’t talk to people in my classes if I don’t feel like it. The idea of joining a sorority or spirit group boggles my mind.

Running has helped me find time for myself. No one tries to talk to you while you are running. You can ignore pretty much everything that’s going on in your life except step, step, step. People don’t like to hear that you can’t hang out with them because you lack the energy to communicate with them, but saying you’re running, swimming, or studying for something urgent usually does the trick.

I still feel shame when I think about this aspect of my personality. I am embarrassed that I can’t just be normal and talk to people like everyone else. However, I am grateful that I am familiar with my weaknesses so that I can work to improve and adjust my life to compensate. And, of course, my introversion is a source of my biggest strengths: my ability to listen, read, learn, and write about it afterwards.

If you’re interested in this stuff, Susan Cain’s book and TED talk are both great.

Much love,

E

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Blasphemy?

Foreward: I am a book lover and an avid reader, I’m not just being a hater.

Dear E,

I want to talk about books that are classics. I hate when people read a book that’s a classic, and then because it’s a classic, they go on about how much they loved the book, even if they totally did NOT love the book. I think I might be guilty of this. (But only to my old English teachers.) Just because a book is a classic, does not mean you have to love it. In fact, it doesn’t even mean you have to read it. Sometimes I find myself starting books that I don’t even want to read, because they’re “classics” and I feel like I HAVE to read them, otherwise I won’t be a well-rounded amazing human being or whatever. I’m going to talk about a few of these books.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I hated this book. I was forced to read this book my junior year of high school and I aced all my tests by just blatantly memorizing quotes in the book. This book is so boring that my friend JM literally fell asleep while reading this standing up. Standing up I tell you! I realize that it has deeper social commentary on like the superficial nature of our society and Dorian’s fixation with youth and beauty, but like COME ON, did it have to bore me to absolute tears? It’s only saving grace is that it was really short, so it was more of a sprint through hell rather than a marathon. Note: I have nothing against Oscar Wilde; I actually read The Importance of Being Earnest and I thought it was quite comedic.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

What the actual fuck? (Excuse my language) This book doesn’t even make sense. Faulkner wrote it in 6 weeks and didn’t change a word. I’m pretty sure he was just spewing bullshit, because in addition to being hard to follow and just plain weird, it was not that captivating. There’s a reason that authors today have editors. How is this a classic? I just googled a classic, and although what makes a classic is a “hotly debated topic” one of the criteria is that a classic must stand the test of time. HOW HAS THIS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME?! I don’t really have much else to say except for that I think that Vardaman Bundren is a MANIAC child. Moving on.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I’m not sure if I didn’t enjoy this book because I had to read it like 5 times, due to academic decathlon or because I had to write countless papers about it, but wow, this book was just so cumbersome. I’ve heard that Of Mice and Men is good but I’m never going to read John Steinbeck again. I just don’t like his writing style, SORRY. (Not like I know anything about writing style, I would just classify his as BOH-RINGGG.) And the ending? I know the ending to this booksis a really memorable ending and is full of tons of Biblical references and spiritual optimism, but I just found it plain weird. #sorryimnotsorry

I could go on but I feel like there’s no need for me to continue to scathingly talk about classics I hate. All of this being said, there are loads classic that I do love–like Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte or A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens or Dante’s Inferno by Dante Alighieri or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The point of this post is don’t feel pressured into reading a classic if you don’t want to read it. Don’t be pressured into saying you love a classic if you don’t. Even some of the classics can be brought down a notch. So there.

Rant over.

Peace out and happy reading,

P

Making Summer Sunny

P’s Quote: “She loved life, so life loved her back.”

Things I Love This Week: Wow there just feels like I have so many things to be grateful for and to be happy about. Here I go. I love the fact that finals are over, the fact that I’ve finished my freshman year at MIT, how I’ve made so many amazing friends this year that I feel like I’ve known for years, going to Boston Calling Music Festival and getting to watch awesome artists like Matt and Kim, The Shins, Marina and the Diamonds and Fun, moving into my sorority house with my best friends, living right in the middle of Kenmore Square, getting a B in physics (this is an achievement, I swear), walking down Newbury street without a care in the world, Memorial Day Weekend and how lucky we are to live in a country like the USA, my passionate peach smoothie I’m currently drinking, this kickass pair of sandals I just bought, and the fact that I’m going to be reunited with my friends and families in t minus 3 hours.

Things to Make This Week Sunny:

Enjoy summer

Hang out with my friends and family as much as possible

Here are some pics summing up my last two weeks

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Baker Formal with my besties

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Aphi formal with some of the best people I know

Also, look at the boys

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Too good, right?

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K’s Birthday

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Our last night at Baker, which consisted of confessions, the most epic game of catch phrase on the planet, pad thai, hilarious drinking games, crazy bonding and cheers to all the awesome moments of freshman year.

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The rain at Boston Calling couldn’t bring us down.

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Matt and Kim

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Don’t we look cute?

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Fun

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We Are Young by Fun

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Marina and the Diamonds

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My makeup before we went down Newbury, I really liked it for some reason (:

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Summer is here! Love you and miss you,

P

Making Mondays Sunny

P’s Quote

“The world will knock you down plenty. You don’t need to be doing it to yourself.” -Elizabeth Scott

Things I Love This Week

For some reason I’m having trouble thinking of the things I love this week, so I guess I’ll revert back to the things I always love in life

My family, texts from my little brothers, my best friend E, sleeping, being alone, going to the library (the Boston Public Library is absolutely beautiful), texting C all the time, yoga, free smoothies, how helpful people are here all the time, the flavor pineapple surf, and the fact that summer is almost here and school is almost freaking over, and the thought of being back home in t minus 3 weeks

Things to Make This Week Sunnier

study really really freaking hard

eat some froyo

work out as much as I did last week (I really went at it)

study some more

go to the movie theater

hang out with people I don’t usually hang out with

study study study

My birthday is coming up soon! At this current point in time I can’t say that I’m really excited for it. I’m not really looking forward to it and it’s my first birthday away from home, which is sad. It’s also on Wednesday, which is humpday, making it exponentially lamer. I guess 19 isn’t really a big one, except for that you know it’s your last year of teenagedom, which is both exhilarating and sad.

Here’s for hoping that next week is a good one.

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Surgeries in the OR

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Pics from Macklemore with K and A.

Much love,

P

Sorry, P! I got so sucked into studying yesterday that I completely forgot MMS!

E’s Quote

“What a joy it must be to be a truly great writer, even if it means a shotgun at the finish”
-Charles Bukowski
I’m sorry this is a depressing quote. I don’t believe you have to be suicidal to be a truly great writer, but lately I have been investigating the ties between mental illness and creativity. I think Bukowski sums this correlation up with his usual grit.

Things I Loved This Week

The weather in Austin. I can’t imagine anything more perfect.

Eating Indian food on top of a hill Saturday night.

My dorm had a festival Saturday. It involved a lot of bouncy contraptions, bubbles, ice cream and a climbing wall.

Making pumpkin muffins with A squared while watching “The Lion King 2”

The hunt for the perfect overalls with I. I still haven’t found them yet.

Eeyore’s Birthday.

Getting glamorous Friday night. Then traipsing home early enough to indulge in a music-sharing and freestyle fest.

Snapchats. Snapchats. Snapchats.

Quizlets, Koofers, and chai tea lattes: the three ingredients to actually studying.

I’ve just been feeling a lot of love this week, you know? I’m so grateful to have you and T and A and I. It makes me tear up to think of how lucky I am.

I wrote James Atrucher and JAMES ALTRUCHER WROTE ME BACK. It was the most exciting thing ever. We’re basically best friends now.

Things to Make Me Happy This Week:

Ace my finals

Keep following Altrucher’s “Daily Practice” (laminated for me by I’s mom)

Sending you lots of love, P! Keep on keeping on, and you’ll be home in Texas soon!

E

Making Mondays Sunny

P’s Quote:

“I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, friends who have been kind enough not to sue me when I’ve used their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister.”

― J.K. Rowling

Dear E, the week right after spring break is always a hard week, if only because we are trying to get back into the swing of things. I had a really nice week. The end to my week wasn’t so great but I guess that’s why we have next week to try all over again right? I’m sorry your week wasn’t too hot, but I know it will get better. That being said, I did do a lot of awesome things this week. I started shadowing this REALLY awesome doctor at Mass General Hospital and I absolutely LOVE IT. Doing that has reminded me how much I love working with people and how much I absolutely want to be a doctor. Sometimes its easy to forget what I’m doing here. And on top of that I’ve been putting my new camera to good use. I took loads of photos at a surprise birthday party we threw for A. Anyway, just wanted to give you a short update on my week. Love you!

Things I Love

when S makes me tea, friends who will come to frat houses in their PJ’s to come get you when you need them (K, my roomie4lyfe and this other really great guy named PH), basically everything about K and how I owe her so bad in basically all aspects of life, when you get into bed and just pass out, getting to scrub in on two surgeries this week, learning SO MUCH about laryngeal surgery and how our voices work, getting to see actual patients, walking around Charles Town, feeling like a master of the T, unwinding at yoga classes, my Essie nail polish named limo-scene that I am currently obsessed with (both my toenails and my fingernails are painted with this color haha), my new oversized Ray-Bans that I am IN LOVE WITH, how sunglasses make you feel like a movie star, the fact that there’s enough sun for me to actually wear sunglasses, walking around Nebury, shamelessly taking pictures with S and M, sushi mixers, chili chocolate, snuggling in bed with S and watching Revenge, my dads texts because they are hilarious and SO CUTE, empty notebooks waiting to be filled, surprise birthday parties for close friends, giving gifts that people really like, coupons, baseball caps itching to be worn, the fact that the weather is actually warming up, not having any tests this week, and the coming 4 day weekend we have.

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my new Ray-Bans

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Me and A on Saturday night

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This is right before A’s surprise birthday party (which was a huge success, she had no idea.) S and I were in charge of distracting her so we took her out to dinner on Newbury and then went to a coffee shop after and drank coffee and read magazines. I got a chocolatino, and it was delicious.

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^Me taking photos for Macy’s

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snapchat, because its a wonderful invention and I LOOOOOOVE ITTTTTT. I don’t even know what I did before this. S is photobombing me as uge.

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more coffee and magazines

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taken during our photoshoot escapades in B-town.

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Me and S

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Me and M

Things to Make This Week Sunnier:

Clean/organize my desk

Dress cute because its warm

Try to get ahead with my studies

Try to understand physics sigh

Stop drinking coffee late at night

Love you and miss you! ❤

Quote 

“Let me tell you about the nap. It’s absolutely fantastic. When I was a kid, my father was always trying to tell me how to be a man. And he said – I was maybe nine – he said, Philip, whenever you take a nap, take your clothes off and put a blanket over you and you’re going to sleep better. Well, as with everything, he was right. And so I now do that and I come back from the swimming pool I go to and I have my lunch and I read the paper and I take this glorious thing called a nap. And then the best part of it is that when you wake up, for the first 15 seconds you have no idea where you are. You’re just alive. That’s all you know and it’s bliss. It’s absolute bliss.”

— Philip Roth

I stole this quote (like an artist) from Austin Kleon’s blog, http://tumblr.austinkleon.com, today. I thought you would appreciate it, P. I absolutely love all your pictures! Give K a hug for taking care of you for me 🙂 Also, your floral pants are my favorite.

Things I’m Grateful for This Week

The super-spectacular-awesome I, who took me to ice cream and let me crash at her apartment after a Thursday night meltdown. I don’t know what I would have done without her this week. I’m grateful for great friends that go with you to Kirby Lane for queso on midnight on a Wednesday. I’m grateful for the chocolate cake and smiley faces my friend J brought to help me finish my lab report last night. I’m grateful for the C and S and our mutual acceptance of the fact that if a party is boring, we need to leave and find a different one. Preferably one with A in it:

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In order: Yours truly, C, the only person I know who is a more accomplished napper than you, S, looking hot as always, and A, who snuck us into the party.

I’m grateful for the awesome research opportunities here at UT and that I learn so much every day. I am grateful that my mom and dad are hanging out with my adorable cousins so that I can skype them. I’m grateful for the laughs that I get from Muggle Hustle (http://mugglehustle.com) and New Girl. I’m still making my way through 11/22/63, and it’s well worth the length.

Mostly, I’m grateful that every week is a fresh start and a new chance to create things to be grateful for.

Hugs and kisses,

E

Valentine’s Day

Dear E,

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!! First off, your 28 text messages made me the happiest person EVER. I am so lucky to have you as a best friend and I love you so freaking much. My friends M, K, S and I are currently watching Lady and the Tramp to celebrate V-day.(I’m kind of watching.) Later today we’re getting dressed up to the nines, going to dinner, and watching Safe Haven. It’s an understatement to say I’m excited. Anyway, one thing I wanted to say is that a lot of the time people regret Valentine’s Day or they think it’s a stupid holiday invented to make money or they pity themselves for not having significant others. Whatever it is, it’s the wrong way to go abouts thinking about Valentine’s Day. It’s a day for love! And that should be celebrated. On that note, here are some love stories I’ve found that I love.

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Have you heard of the website MMT? Here are some good love stories from that one:

Today, my 8-year-old son hugged me and said, “You are the best mom in the whole entire world!” I smiled and replied, “How do you know that? You haven’t met every mom in the whole entire world.” My son squeezed me tighter and said, “Yes I have. You are my world.”

Today, I watched in horror through the kitchen window as my 2-year-old slipped and fell head first into the pool. But before I could get to her, our Labrador Retriever, Rex, jumped in after her, grabbed her by her shirt collar and pulled her to the shallow steps where she could stand.

Today, a woman who must have her voicebox removed due to cancer is enrolled in my sign language class. Her husband, four children, two sisters, brother, mother, father, and twelve close friends are also enrolled in the same class so they can communicate with her after she loses her ability to speak aloud. 

Today, my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer.  My best friend lives 2000 miles away and called to comfort me.  While on the phone, he asked, “What would you do if I showed up at your house and gave you the biggest hug in the world?”  “I would surely smile,” I replied.  And then he rang my doorbell. 

Also, I really like this article from SWAN! It’s how little kids think about love:

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”
– Rebecca, age 8

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
– Billy, age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
– Karl, age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” 
-Chrissy, age 6

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”
– Terri – age 4

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is K.”
– Danny, age 7

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.”
– Emily, age 8

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”
– Bobby, age 5

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.”
– Nikka, age 6

“There are two kinds of love: Our love, God’s love. But God makes both kinds of them.”
– Jenny, age 4

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.”
– Noelle, age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”
– Tommy, age 6

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.” 
– Cindy – age8

“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.” 
– Claire, Age 5

“Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken.”
– Elaine, age 5

“Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.” 
-Chris, age 8

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” 
– Mary Ann, age 4

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” 
– Lauren, age 4

“I let my big sister pick on me because my Mom says she only picks on me because she loves me. So I pick on my baby sister because I love her.”
– Bethany, age 4

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” 
– Karen, age 7

“Love is when mommy sees daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.”
– Mark, age 6

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” 
– Jessica – age 8

“I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.” — Manuel, age 8

“On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.” — Mike, 10

“It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.” — Kenny, age 7

“One of you should know how to write a check. Because, even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills.” — Ava, age 8

“Most men are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one.” — Angie, age 10

“You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big ring and her own VCR, ’cause she’ll want to have videos of the wedding.” — Jim, age 10

“I know one reason kissing was created. It makes you feel warm all over, and they didn’t always have electric heat or fireplaces or even stoves in their houses.” — Gina, age 8

“It isn’t always how you look. Look at me. I’m handsome like anything, and I haven’t got anybody to marry me yet.” — Brian, age 7

“Lovers will just be staring at each other and their food will get cold. Other people care more about the food.” — Brad, age 8

“Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you never take out the trash.” — Erin, age 8

A four year old child next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.” 

Also, in case you needed some strategies for making people fall in love with you…

“Tell them that you own a whole bunch of candy stores.” — Del, age 6

“Shake your hips and hope for the best.” — Camille, age 9

“Yell out that you love them at the top of your lungs…and don’t worry if their parents are right there.” — Manuel, age 8

“Don’t do things like have smelly, green sneakers. You might get attention, but attention ain’t the same thing as love.” — Alonzo, age 9

“One way is to take the girl out to eat. Make sure it’s something she likes to eat. French fries usually works for me.” — Bart, age 9

Here are some quotes about love that rock:

“Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” -Lao Tzu

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa

“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.” 
-J.K. Rowling

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” 
-Mahatma Gandhi

I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion – 
I have shudder’d at it. 
I shudder no more. 
I could be martyr’d for my religion 
Love is my religion 
And I could die for that. 
I could die for you. 
-John Keats 

Hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I did. I love you ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Good luck with your med school interviews. I’m rooting for you! And call me when they’re over!

Loads of Love,

P

The Worst of the Worst

Dear P,

You go to MIT. You are therefore constantly surrounded by the best of the best- the best, the brightest, and the most organized. While I think this is generally a positive thing, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of the people who were not always the best at what they did- and persevered. They even ended up making a profit out of their infamy.

Amanda McKittrick Ros

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Amanda McKittrick Ros is widely regarded as the single worst novelist of all time. She was even mentioned in this documentary on thought catalog:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/what-is-bad-writing-2/

Did you catch that? She was a star in a documentary called “What is Bad Writing?”.

Mrs. Ros was the master of over-done alliteration. She called out her many critics with zingers like “auctioneering agents of satan” and “clay crabs of corruption”. She also wrote poetry:

“Holy Moses! Take a look!

Flesh decayed in every nook!

Some rare bits of brain lie here,

Mortal loads of beef and beer.”

Amanda McKittrick Ros published three novels and two books of poetry in all, and even had a publisher, eventually (she published her first novel, Irene Iddesleigh, on her own dime). She supported herself through the infamy of her writing and helped to bring about the end of the Elizabethan novel. She’s exactly what writers like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were fighting against.

Florence Foster Jenkins

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Okay, I stole this one from another Internet hero:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Txmy4IGOCI

Thank you, John Green. Your explanation of Florence Foster Jenkins is perfect; I have nothing to add.

Rebecca Black
In an age of auto-tuned voices, none can rival the great Rebecca Black for sheer, cringing badness.

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May she ever make music videos we can all make fun of.

I could, of course, write an entirely new article about artists who were considered failures in their own time but are now widely acknowledged geniuses. Van Gogh died a poor man, and couldn’t sell his paintings for enough to live on. Henry Ford was broke from his entrepreneurial efforts five times before he founded Ford motor company. Robert Goddard, famous for his research on liquid-fueled rockets, was ridiculed for his “outrageous” ideas.

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(image source-sheilapic76)

“Use what talents you posses:

the woods would be very silent

if no birds sang except those that sang best.”

– Henry Van Dyke

Keep on keeping on,

E

Flashin’ Fashion: Where’s the Sunshine?

Sheer shirt, jeans, and your classic leather jacket….guess I was soaking up the last few rays of sunlight while I could.

Shirt: unsure

Jeans: Express

Jacket: Steve Madden

Boots: Minnetonka

“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” -John Wesley

Peace and Love,

P

My Own Humble Review of “The Casual Vacancy” (Spoiler Alert)

Dear P,

“Honesty was Fats’ currency, his weapon and defense. It frightened people when you were honest; it shocked them. Other people, Fats had discovered, were mired in embarrassment and pretense, terrified that their truths might leak out, but Fats was attracted by rawness, by everything that was ugly but honest, by the dirty things about which the like of his father felt humiliated and disgusted. Fats thought a lot about messiahs and pariahs: about men labeled mad or criminal; noble misfits shunned by the sleepy masses.”

“He wanted to toughen up inside, to become invulnerable, to be free of the fear of consequences: to rid himself of the spurious notions of goodness and badness.”

“What Fats wanted to recover was a kind of innocence, and the route he had chosen back to it was through all the things that were supposed to be bad for you, but which, paradoxically, seemed to Fats to be the one true way to authenticity; to a kind of purity…He wanted to journey through dark labyrinths and wrestle with the strangeness that lurked within; he wanted to crack open piety and expose hypocrisy; he wanted to break taboos and squeeze wisdom from their bloody hearts; he wanted to achieve a state of amoral grace, and be baptized backwards into ignorance and simplicity.”

“He was slumped in the back, gazing out of the window, as though his parents were two people who had picked him up hitchhiking, connected to him merely by chance and proximity.”

“…Samantha was sliding gently toward contented drunkenness, but something in her was making forlorn protests, like a man swept out to sea. She attempted to drown it in more wine.”

“How awful it was, thought Tessa, remembering Fats the toddler, the way tiny ghosts of your living children haunted your heart; they could never know, and would hate it if they did, how their growing was a constant bereavement.”

“He fought back with every weapon in his arsenal, being alternatively obtuse, evasive, and pedantic, for it was wonderful how you could obscure an emotional issue by appearing to seek precision.”

“It was so good to be held. If only their relationship could be distilled into simple, wordless gestures of comfort. Why had humans ever learned to talk?”

“It started with a yearning for nicotine and beauty.”

“He could not even take comfort in knowing that he had spent most of his adult life in dread of calamities that had not materialized, because, by the law of averages, one of them was bound to come true one day.”

“Both could feel the relationship crumbling to pieces beneath the weight of everything that [he] refused to say.”

“It was strange how your brain could know what your heart refused to accept.”

“It often took a little bit of drink, these days.”

“Was is love when somebody filled a space in your life that yawned inside you, once they had gone?”

But who could bear to know which stars were already dead, she thought, blinking up at the night sky, could anybody stand to know they all were?”

“The Casual Vacancy”, by the great Ms. Rowling, has received many negative reviews in the few weeks since it’s release. On amazon, it has received more “1 star” reviews than “5 star”  reviews. NYTimes online calls it banal, cliche, and dull.

I, however, liked it. If I had to sum the book up in a sentence, it would be, “A bunch of British people searching for truth.” While the HP series revolved around love (if you disagree, feel free to say so in the comments), this novel revolves around truth. And, as Dumbledore said, “The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, Harry, and must therefore be treated with great caution.”

Oh yeah. That quote was from memory and I got it exactly.

This novel is often ugly and sad, because it reflects the character’s perception of truth, and because the characters in the story are often petty and small-minded. It was if Aunt Petunia and all her friends had their own novel. It lacks the vastness of the Harry Potter series because the plot happens on a much smaller scale. Instead of good-versus-evil we have sad-British-person-versus-other-sad-British-person.

Thus, “The Casual Vacancy” was not Harry Potter. However, I appreciated Rowling’s usual piercing knowledge of human nature, as evidenced by the quotes above. Also, it was comforting to feel the cadence of her sentences, which brought me through so many light childhood afternoons and dark adolescent storms.

So, since you are also a Harry Potter fan, you will probably like the book. If you weren’t, it’s pretty average and I probably wouldn’t recommend it.

Hugs and kisses,

E

Brighter and More Brilliant

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”

— Bob Marley

Dear E,

I read this quote and I thought about you. It’s totally us. I feel so lucky that when I read this there are a few people who pop into my mind. Hopefully in the next four years here I can find a few more. Hope you’re having a lovely day.

-P