All posts tagged stories

  • Curating the past


    These are four last days of school: third grade, high school, my bachelor’s degree, and my master’s degree one week ago. As Sarah pointed out, forks are in the road and I’m traveling down them.The kind of anti-climactic moment of receiving my diploma in a confusing ceremony was finally grounded when I had to organize all the junk I’ve left at my parent’s house each time I’ve moved. This isn’t really a post about graduating, which was fine, but about spending all day sorting through an exhibition of my past. I think I need more time between me and CMU in order to write about it.

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  • 5: Men on the streets

    While not the most light-hearted topic, there has something that has been weighing me down lately. And I have hemmed and hawed about writing about this because I feel like it’s not the most enjoyable subject to write about and because it’s such a prickly issue to read about. Something that people already have opinions on and that it’s easy to just re-apply those opinions every time you hear a new story. I want to write about my range of frustration about being harassed on the streets. Within the last month it’s been more noticeable and more frequently than usual (Spring love, maybe?) and so I find myself thinking about it over and over again. And it happens on such scale of difference that it’s hard to talk about a whole. The fear is always that I’ll be marked as ‘oversensitive’ because the fleeting instance ‘wasn’t a big deal’ or shamed for bringing it up. But you’re measuring someone’s personal experience with discomfort. And occasion they would prefer not to have and I don’t think that should be discredited. ‘A thousand papercuts’ can slice you down when just one may not.

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  • The good you do

    “We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know”
    — WH Auden, poet

    People my age believe they can do good in the world. They seek it out. They hope that they can spend their lives making a difference in the world. Heck, just look at the title of my blog. Something I realized relatively recently is that I also felt guilty because I didn’t think I was doing enough. That I hadn’t set up a future doing more. That maybe I wasn’t even really set up to be the do-gooder I want to be. That maybe I would spend my future being a money-hungry cog in the wheel.

    It was really hard for me to wrestle between future-life-decisions. I didn’t think they did Good enough (not were good enough). I’m still trying to work it out, so let me know how it sounds—but what do you think about being ok with the little good things you do? The daily attempts to be a good or better person than you were before? Is that ok? Is that a cop out?

    I was philosophizing with my friend Mark about it, and I told him I don’t think we people should feel guilty about the good they manage to do. That the quiet hard workers who help the community run does good for the world too. He told me he liked that idea. He told me that his father was so relieved when his minister gave a sermon that being a father was serving God. His father had felt guilty that he wasn’t about to help more people or to be spend more time with the church. He’d been working so hard to provide for his family. When he learned that it was ok to be ‘just’ a good father and husband…it made him feel more at peace.

    How does that sound to you? I think we hear stories of people giving up everything and going out in the world and dedicating their lives to advancing this or that cause and we (I) feel selfish that we’re (I’m) not doing the same. It seems a little dirty to say “you don’t have to go that far.” Like a scape goat. At the same time, I believe in the every day heroics of being a positive member of a community.


    At the zoo. That’s me with the drank.

    Within the last year, my mom shyly asked if I had a good childhood. If she had been a good mom. I was like “What!?—Mom, yeah! I had a happy childhood.” I mean, I think there were parts of it that not all my classmates had to go through, but it seemed normal enough to me. She mentioned sometimes feeling bad that she couldn’t give us more or feeling like things ‘were always so tight.’ We’d do free things like go to the park, or to the zoo (she got an annual membership), or the library. We went to the library almost every week. My brother would get a huge stack of books, my sister would get a few art books, and I would get books about animals. I remember the library had old DOS computers where you’d type something like “A” to search by author. We invented games to play with each other, we explored outside. It was great. These were memories and experiences that shaped who I was. The things she felt conscious about I participated in readily.

    My mom did the best she could. It would be sad for me to think of her efforts as anything less that than what we should all be working towards. She woke up, made us all breakfast, herded us to school. Cooked food for dinner. Worked all day. Made sure we ate. Cleaned the house. She was practically a single mother with the perk of having my father’s warm body to babysit us after we got home from school.

    So maybe I’m just trying to justify a future that I’m starting to predict might be a quiet, well-mannered one in many ways. But maybe that’s how it starts. I’m excited to get back to a normal schedule where I’m not working around the clock. I was thinking that maybe I could volunteer at a library again since I had so much fun in Denver. I think about at least the small ways I can feel like I’m doing good.

    You should never feel bad about the good you [can] do.

  • Wear your beret

    This is the first paper we had to write my for my Narrative & Argument class. I felt like I could share it here because it’s the sort of thing I would talk about anyway. But I also recorded myself reading it above because I thought it might be slightly more enjoyable since it is a really long piece. A few police cars go by and I stutter a bit, but it’s not so bad.



    Here’s the paper:

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  • Closing the gap

    This only gets more relevant as time passes. I’m trying to close the gap between what I know I want to do and what I actually produce. I can recognize that the things I design are missing That Special Something to make them remarkable. It will take time, risk, and courage. I am afraid that I’m not good enough, but I have to have confidence that I can become the designer I want to be. I would really like guidance. Someone not afraid to get their feet wet and take a chance with me.

  • 5: Letters to inanimate objects

    Dear Ukulele,

    How do I play you better? Do you ever get sad that I am so terrible? You make me happy though, I hope that is some compensation. And I also thing you’re very pretty. Never change.

    Most sincerely, Jacklynn

    Phone –

    I really dislike you. Why do you have to make me angry all the time? You do all of these annoying things for no reason just, seemingly, to get on my nerves. I especially hate having to text someone with you. I don’t care what anyone says: nothing beats a good keyboard. I hate that you try to decide what letters or words I’m trying to type. You don’t know me! You can’t just assume what words I want to use. I hate having to go back and change every other word to the word of my intention. I did not get a degree in English for this garbage. I hope Sprint goes out of business.

    Your unwilling owner, Jacklynn

    Dear Little Car,

    I know that it’s kind of intimidating here in Denver where everyone else is driving hefty Subarus (or some other robust, mountain-climbing SUV) that are actually equipped to driving “0utdoors” (pish-posh). It’s ok that I’m sure that you would rather be in a garage, drive on carpet in the sunshine on a flat surface, and that mild winds make you tremble; I still am very endeared to your tiny stature. Ok, ok, I’ll admit, I not-so-secretly plan out what car I will get next, but I don’t think that should put a strain on our relationship. Does it ever make you nervous that you never see any other Hyundai Accents on the road? Sometimes it makes me leery, but I try not to read too much into so maybe you shouldn’t either.

    All the best, Jacklynn

    Ps. Please let me know if you have all-weather tires. My guess is that, no, you do not. But some confirmation besides getting stuck in my parking spot every time it snows would be much appreciated.

    Dear New Apartment,

    I hope that I’m not being too forward in writing to you before we’ve formally met, but I just wanted to express my extreme enthusiasm in getting to know you better. I know that Matt feels the same way, probably more so, in fact. We will take good care of you. We will love the your weird angles, missing doors, and lack-of-amenities faithfully. We have big plans for our friendship, big plans. Can’t wait for you too meet our friends!

    Yours truly, Jacklynn

    Dear Punctuation Marks,

    I find myself, regretfully, loosing touch with you more and more as the weeks go by without school, teachers with red pens, and term papers. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t understand you at all. Maybe I never did….Where did you go? Where are you supposed to go? As I try to edit the mostly incomplete or run-on thoughts of my co-worker’s writings, I find I’m longing for our once friendly understanding of one another. Please come back to me, I don’t even care if we have to see a specialist and take a class together. I’m willing to make this work again.

    Passionately, Jacklynn

    >> repaid.

  • Neat things: it’s been a while

    01 | My favorite This American Life episode, “Origin Stories.” So good. It’s about…you know the origins of different stories. My favorite is Act One, about Julian Koenig, a copywriter and how his ideas were stolen for him. [57:27]


    02 | My love of containers cannot be contained. I found this on a procrastination streak:

    [From the Container Store]

    01| This video about a girl, her father, and her flamby.

  • Drive-through etiquette

    I don’t get fast food on regular basis and so I use the drive-through even less. Ordering with me in the drivers seat?— Almost never.

    I was driving my a car full of friends to order Limeades at Sonic’s and it naturally fell to me to do the talking. For some reason, I totally forgot how the whole things works and it made me reflect on the expectations of fast-food buying in general.

    “Thanks for choosing Sonic. May I take your order?” [In a voice that neither seemed thankful nor interested in my order]

    One moment, please.

    Orders were not in, sizes were not known for the crowd. This did not sit well with the worker and he, ignoring me, repeated: “Thanks for choosing Sonic. May I take your order?”

    Still not ready, I repeated my request for a moment’s time.

    “I’ll come back to you.” The kid said. Evan cursed me for waiting—“You’re just supposed to say the first thing that you do know and then say “ummm…” until you know what else to get.”

    We waited for a while before the kid returned. “May I take your order?”

    “Yes, may I please have a large strawberry limeade, a large cranberry limeade, and medium cranberry limeaid…”

    Ok, so it might not look weird reading it, but immediately after saying “may I please have” I felt like I broke a rule.

    What you’re supposed to say:

    “Can I get…”

    “I’ll have…”

    I must have sounded condescending, though I swear I was just doing with my my English classes would have wanted.

    Please, sir, may I please have some more?