Stacy Muthoni’s 5 Steps to Rebuilding Your Life

Step One: Give yourself a new name. A name is the basis of an identity. When you introduce yourself to new people (which you will be doing often) you should give them this fresh name of yours. It not only establishes you as a different person to them, but makes it easier for you yourself to accept your new identity. Make sure to choose one that embodies this new person you aim to be.

Step Two: She has seen the words plastered all across the forums, in Times New Roman, Century Gothic, Papyrus, different words but all with the same meaning. ‘The only way to truly understand who you are in this moment,’ AppleAddict93 writes, ‘is to look back at your past. Childhood is the place where all things meet, both who you were and who you are sure to be. Look there to find out the answers.’ So she tries, but that’s hard when she doesn’t remember much of her childhood, and when the later parts of it were so strange and so annoying that she’s just taken to brushing it off when the thought enters her head. Her childhood is in no way traumatic, but it is not pleasant, and she doesn’t need answers right now. No, she’s not doing all this for answers, she’s trying to do the same things she’s always been doing – just on a clean slate. No, this isn’t her running away.

Step Three: Dye your hair a new colour. Something bold, something shocking, something not you (the old you, i mean) would choose. Try grey.

Step Four: She is staring at her contacts page, gripping her phone tight to stop her hands from trembling so much. She can put a face to every one of these names, a first meeting and a last sighting, an inside joke, a secret shared. Deleting one feels like deleting all of that, like pressing YES on a folder to start a new game. It feels dirty, even though she knows this is meant to make her clean. Clean, pure, pristine, guiltless, new- New. This will be worth it, you just don’t know it now. These tears you spill, they won’t matter then, when it’s most important. This person you are now just doesn’t suit you enough for their pain to matter. You will be beautiful – soon enough, at least.

Step Five: Just forget.

Rebuild

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Things to Keep in Mind While Climbing

You’re looking over everything you have to do today, this week, this month, this year. It seems like a lot all in all, you can feel the weight of just the thought. There is a mountain before you – one you most likely aren’t looking forward to climbing.

I understand your worry. Mountains are difficult, strenuous things. It is perfectly fine to be worried about them

The thing about climbing mountains is that you must take care of yourself. Step by step, try to look at each kilometre instead of the whole thing. There is no doubt that you can climb the mountain, the only difference is the variables – like time, and strength of mind, support, those things. You can climb some mountains easier than others for all sorts of different reasons, but no matter how big or small your current mountain is, you can’t rush through it. You don’t want to reach the top only to be so out of breath you can barely enjoy it.

Take joy in climbing mountains, no matter how laborious they are, and always remember to take your mountains slowly.

Mountain

Plagiarism in the Technological Era

AKA, the single reason that I’m scared to write on a blog.

It’s a well known word, but it’s become more of an empty shell now. Everything about it has become far too overused. Sure, it’s the easiest way out of a minor high school essay or project, but there’s a whole other side to it – one we’re completely aware of – that we choose to push into the dark. Even for those minor school projects, it’s not plagiarism. The word itself still too harsh for physical use, for it to actually roll off your tongue – it feels dirty. Plagiarism is a bad thing, in every way, shape and form. You don’t need to be told that at the start of the school year, you can figure out by yourself that no one wants their work to be stolen. It might be a big thing to those who do it, or not, most times it isn’t, but for the creators of the original content – whether that be writers, researchers, journalists, screenwriters, historians, bloggers – this is a word that induces deadly fear.

“To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.”
― Steven Wright
There is only one terror that can take over your mind after all the researching, laborious  first drafts, edits, painful bouts of  writer’s block, and maybe or maybe not finding a publisher. This is a fear that cannot be subdued by caffeine, sleep, inspiration blogs. Here, calling to you at all times of the day, is a perfectly logical voice, with very frightening things to say. “How can you be sure no one is going to steal your work?”

After everything I went through? Oh, the thought is terrifying.

I don’t like to think about it at all, but i suppose that for someone who has never shared their original work – or is just beginning to – the fear is much more of a theoretic one.

Knowing that there is a chance that your wok could be stolen invokes plenty of fear, and fear stops you from doing the things you want to more than anything else. It’s the biggest ocean to get through, the highest hurdle to jump. Spending hours writing and adding, painstaking editing, but when it comes down to that SUBMIT button all the insecurities pour out of you and paralyse your fingers.

Plagiarism isn’t limited to just the written word either. Art plagiarism also exists, and is just as real, and terrible, and frightening.

And we have to keep in mind, we no longer belong to a world of small circles, information you have to walk, or talk to people to get. Today we are super connected, with telephone polls everywhere, 3G and 4G internet speeds, email, forums, free wifi at every everything.

It has become so much easier to find information, and in the mess of all this information, it’s just as easy to steal it.

The thing about the internet is how artificial it makes interactions feel, and it’s not that they feel glazed over, made of plastic and distant, but how impersonal it feels. You see a profile picture and a comment and can’t connect it to a real person. So, when you see a profile picture and article, a city all the way from the other side of the world, it doesn’t feel the same way it does ripping a manuscript from the hands of an unsuspecting writer right in front of you. It has become oh so easy to steal from others, far too easy.

I will upload my first well-written, finished fiction, or reportage piece, then spend the whole night after worrying that someone will take it as their own. This is painful to accept. I probably don’t deserve to feel even all of it – what are the chances i’ve never take someone’s work without proper credit before? We will always want the easiest way out of things, whether we like to admit it or not. The fact of the matter is no one wants their work to be taken from them, the question now is how to stop it. And if we can’t stop it, then how do artists get over the fear of it? Original work is a whole different region – there are no teachers to read over student papers or programs to run manuscripts, art pieces, cookbooks before they are let out to the public. I mean, big corporations steal Tweets from normal, everyday people and it goes totally unnoticed. Who looks for a copied line from this year’s song of summer? No one.

This fear torments me even now, but still, i will continue to post things on my little blog. My short stories and rants that work their way into investigations of humans and their obsessions. It’s a leap to take, you think, trusting that no one will touch your work in particular. I’m not taking that leap though. Then why go on publishing your work?

A short answer – because my passion is stronger than my fear.

On Order

I am most certainly not the most orderly person i know. Messy most things, i crawl through haphazard piles of all sorts to reach my goals. My mind is messy during most hours of the day (who knows what it’s like during the night), even my blog posts are messy, here and there. I lose pens only to find them later in a different pencil case. To be disorderly is probably in my nature, and though it can be well argued that the quality is a bad one, there’s no reason for me to fight against it.

There must be a reason why i am messy.

A lot of people think that to be successful you have to have everything in order, every aspect of your life organised to the most minute details. My mountains are made of discarded bookmarks, finished pens, coffee mugs and lists that were meant to organise my life. Read these words slowly, carefully: IT IS FINE FOR YOUR LIFE TO BE MESSY. A life cannot be perfect, stop trying to make it that. Just live, even if it means walking into books often.

 Orderly

Resistance in a Field of Wheat (Writing #2)

grain |greɪnmass noun ] wheat or any other cultivated cereal used as food.

against the grain contrary to the natural inclination or feeling of someone or something

5.jpg

Here – in the space where she sits – there is only sound. Quiet, then the sway of wheat as the wind picks up, a scratchy hum all around her. This quiet is good, it blocks out certain thoughts somehow, holds the tears back, pushes them back even. This is all she needs – the quiet and the wheat stalks.

“Tabitha!”

She hates how the shout disturbs the peace. “Tabitha!” that voice calls out again. But that won’t do anything to stop them.

Inside those four walls, she had felt like she was drowning. Out here it is the sound that drowns out those little demons. Thoughts swirl inside her head, then get dragged down the whirlpool. She doesn’t even need to will herself to concentrate on the moment, that state comes naturally.

“Tabitha, where are you?” That is Gwen shouting now, and she sure can shout loud. She doesn’t normally let that side show, Tabitha barely thought it was in her. Too bad it has surfaced in vain.

She hates the shouting but she hates hiding more. It’s only that all this is necessary.

“Tabitha!” that one is her mother. Her mother’s shouts sound like they hurt, scrape the muscle of her throat as she forces the sound through, hurt the air as the vibrations hit, they hurt Tabitha’s ears a little too. She is so far away, yet it starts explosions going off in those smooth hollows. A sudden gust of wind sways the stalks to the side. Her mother’s voice is one that reaches in and beckons her to move. It does not tell her to go elsewhere, but to return.

She still won’t stand though. There are things to lose if she shows herself.

“Tabitha!” she tries again, louder even than the last. Well, Tabitha thinks, she will just have to scream herself raw.

Grain

Photo by Alex Teuscher

Sing!

“Sing it for the boys
Sing it for the girls
Every time that you lose it sing it for the world”
– SING, MCR

It’s been a damn long time, since this band was together, since i last heard this song. You see the year 2013 written out now and you can’t seem to think of the length of time between then and now. It’s been a damn long time but this is still damn important, and everybody who doesn’t think it just doesn’t know.

The thing about having things to keep you going, is worrying what you’ll do when they’re over. I’m sure, that was the way with this band for a lot of people. Yet here we are, still living, and just living is enough for now. You’ll always have your hopeless moments, but you’ll never lose your voice.

Don’t give up on all you’ve worked for so far, just sing instead. And sing it loud.

(Picture at the top from Fanpop, the page is – http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/my-chemical-romance/images/22337547/title/sing-official-video-screencap)

Sing

Rooftops and Growth (Writing #1)

flourish |ˈflʌrɪʃverb 

1 [no obj.(of a living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way

[with obj.wave something about to attract attention

“This is never going to work.” She says.

Monica is sitting, sullen, far away from the roof’s edge – where falling is inevitable. She is pulling at the threads sticking out of her sweater cuffs, waiting. It feels bad to be waiting like this – like she’s waiting for nothing, but when D pulls her out of bible study, out of the blue, and tells her they have to wait, she really isn’t willing to put up a fight. She doesn’t have any good points to make against him anyway.

“How can you be so sure of that, ma cherie?” D asks her, certain, steady voice. He is standing tall before her with his hands in his pockets, face to the sun. There are fingers pulling at the corners of his mouth, this look suits him so well (was made of him). He could fit in a Renaissance painting. Monica doesn’t want to speak, that certain, steady voice makes her anxious to give any answer at all.

“It just, doesn’t- doesn’t sound like it’s going to work out. It sounds too risky.” she fumbles with her answer, sure he will ask her to say it again because of how quiet her voice is. But he doesn’t. Somehow he always hears her.

“How can you say that?” he looks straight down at her, and when she looks back up even the sight of him standing up with the sky behind makes her head turn a little. “It is not the plan that matters, but how it is executed. And with us doing the executing,  nothing could go wrong. Unless, you doubt the executors.” He bends a little and asks her, “Do you doubt us, Monica?”

She shakes her head.

“Then why so unsure?” he asks.

She cannot answer, not with actual words, at least. “No reason to stay stuck in the past.” he continues. “You are a new person now, a new Monica.” With every word he moves his arms, so those metal rings on his fingers gleam in the light.

“Look at how you’ve grown, flourished. Every single part of you is aching to be used the way it should.” He is flinging his arms around madly as he says the words, and though that is the right way to describe the movement, it doesn’t look half as crazy when he does it. He flourishes them like they are more instruments to put together this grand plan of his. He flashes her a bright-eyed smile and turns around to face the view. His back doesn’t compare to the vivid dance of limbs, but it is still so much better than most.

He is always telling her – she is constantly growing, she is becoming new with every second, every single breath of hers is a new one. This world doesn’t allow for things to stay the same. Those who don’t catch up are the ones who suffer the most. She looks up to the right to see people pouring out of the music hall on Judy’s street, in the distance, like a little rivulet opening up. Her eyes go back to D’s back, the straight line that it carves into existence. Well, if he says they can do it then she knows they can.

“Today, standing on top of a roof.” he whispers to the city. “Tomorrow, kidnapping the prime minister’s daughter. Would you look at us and how far we’ve come.”

Flourish

Disclaimer

I don’t know how to blog.

Honestly, I don’t think anyone knows how to blog, in the same way that no one really knows how to make art, or to live life, or do a lot of other big and really weird thing. We have tips, scattered knowledge, plenty of experience even, but that isn’t the same as knowing how to do it. We’re trying more than just doing.

There is a disclaimer here because I am nervous, very nervous, as everyone is about a lot of things. I want it to be known that I don’t know what I’m doing so that people will forgive me when I do it wrong. I am no stranger to disclaimers like this, I just don’t write them on blogs often. It’s okay for me to be nervous about this though, to accept it, to tell other people.

Saying it may also be good for those of you out there who have trouble saying it yourselves. I think that in time, as you do something more and more, it is more important that your confidence grows rather than your skill. Even skill is hard to understand, and there’s no point in defining yourself by incomprehensible things.

Even after years and years of trying we cannot know – we will never know. We can only try. That is enough.

 

Isn’t it funny how when you start this out you’re really just talking to yourself?