Showing posts with label Self Motivation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Self Motivation. Show all posts

Monday, October 8, 2018

5 Reading Slump Killers ("with" Cynthia Bailey)

Every reader goes through this mess: you’ve finished a book (outstanding or awful) and can’t decide what to read next.  Or if you even want to follow up your reading so shortly.  So you ponder over what's your mood looking like–in concerns to your next choice in a book.  And sometimes that pondering goes on a little too long.  Sometimes... your decision gets clouded.  

After finishing a book, I usually take a day or two off from reading.  Sometimes that day or two sticks around a little longer.  And three days is always too long.  Then it begins to sting when I have four bookshelves riddled with unread titles glaring at me wondering what the hell I‘m doing sitting around without a book in hand.  One shelf wants to be chosen.  One book desperately wants to be elected.  And I just sit there like a chump biting my lip and as indecisive as ever.  Something has blocked me from reading.  My mood?  Energy?  Maybe solicitude from my last book?  All I know is days are ticking by and I can't seem to find a dang thing I want to read and it's pissing me off.

It's a reading slump indeed. 

So I, like many book bloggers, decided to create another remedy post for readers who need to get through a reading slump.  And if one method listed doesn't work, another one always will.  So let's go!


Hell, I’ve learned long ago how throwing away and getting rid of old junk kills some spectrum of my anxiety.  There’s this sort of alleviating transference I get from donating old clothes; alongside tossing pay stubs, art supplies, and old birthday cards into trash bags.  Seriously, when miscellany leaves happiness circulates within the soul.  

So one method that often helps me pull out of a reading slump is getting my shelves organized.  By “getting organized” I mean going to a shelf to pull unread titles off to compile what I haven‘t read and how long its been hanging around–and deciding what should hang around.  Something about pulling unread books off, piling them up, and actually looking at them helps get me centered.  It’s revisiting titles long acquired that at one point I was excited.  That is until time and other books caused my enthusiasm to slip by, before deciding what's next for said title.  And, naturally, the benefit is I find myself donating piles of unread and clutter-clogging books after a change in interests.

This method allows me to focus on the now.  Not the then and not the later.  We hate to admit it, but there is a level of anxiety and agitation we get from being book lovers who simply can't read and take every book with us throughout life.  Heck, I would even equate books to friendships: they have their seasons, chile.  And only the most trustworthy, loyal and respectful can stay.  Oh, and enriching.  Never keep something around that doesn't enrich your life.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Getting the Hang of Zazzle

I’ve been going up the wall lately on optimizing a controlled and organized Zazzle store.  Before products were arranged in any and all kinds of order.  This left visitors scrambling all over the store.  Which isn't good!  Even I came frustrated with the disarray I’d created.  Added to my organizing, I’ve also been reviving the color of my original uploads from 2012.  A few color correcting techniques in the drawing process have stepped up since 2012.  So the difference from then and now were a little too noticeable for me to ignore.  
I wouldn’t call it grueling, but I’ve been up until like 4am all weekend redoing all my previous faults.  I think we've all been there, where it's late but we tell ourselves just one more action before we sleep.  Then one action leads to ten.  
So here are a few of my considerations to optimizing a fresh Zazzle store.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Regina Brett and God's Hiring

I ran across Regina Brett’s (new to her, but she has many advice books) God is Always Hiring: 50 Lessons for Finding Fulfilling Work back in April.  At the time, I was hunting the bookstore for Toni Morrison’s front-of-store latest, God Help the Child.  I was also trying to distract myself from the troubling thoughts of my wrecked car parked in my driveway.  As well as distract myself from a 9-5 that just wouldn’t let up.  And it’s the 9-5 job situation I speak of which drew me to God is Always Hiring.  No, seriously, I considered it a sign from God when the book's bright yellow color captured my attention.  I circled the new release tower and–POW–there it was.  One to wage my coins on impulse buys; in that instance I grabbed the book (along with Morrison) and headed to the checkout without question.  As far as I was concerned, God really was trying to tell me something.  This time I would listen.
Funny how things work.
But to be extensively honest, I thought God is Always Hiring came with job-related stories I could identify with.  Particularly from the first-hand experiences of individuals who’ve found themselves frustrated by their jobs as well.  And what they did about it.  Think: Chicken Soup for the Soul, motivating struggle, adaptable tools, and eventual triumphs.  Even so, while the book contained tidbits of story essays from various individuals and their 9-5 challenges, it was mainly 50 lessons from the author's experiences.  Valid lessons, no doubt.  Only I have no idea what it’s like to have a resume as broad and bright as hers.  Or one crammed with growth opportunities in a field closer to my own desires themselves.  I would even stretch to say I would trade my current job for some of her previous experience.  Personally, working as a columnist is far more rewarding and field engaging than a gas station attendant.  Trust me.  I know this. 
Still, I suppose the feelings of finding yourself unfilled are relative yet all the same.  (I would probably only go so far as a columnist before my entrepreneurial spirit starts grumbling back up.)  Which is why I want to share a few of my favorite lines/lessons/advice provided in the book.  These are the moments that truly resonated within my personal situation.  The lessons I did identity with and heard God "calling."  In turn, if you haven’t read the book, I hope they resonate with you as well so you can go buy God is Always Hiring.  And get hit with the inspiration to make those changes in your life that you know you must seek out.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cashier Confessions | WEEK 2

Here we are with WEEK 2 of my "Cashier Confessions" (formerly "On Break... Motivate") series.  This week I talk about sharing your ambitions with co-workers.  Should you share them?  Or should you not.  I lean toward no.  Be discerning if you feel the need to.  Or move in silent.  I also talk about being grateful for you job underneath your own terms and not the fear others slip into your mind frame.  It's perfectly okay to want better and to feel it.  By Thursday I wanted to talk about arguing with co-workers.  So not necessary, but often we find ourselves in those situations.  If you know you deserve better and strive for it outside of your 9-5–let your co-workers have the place.  And Friday I leave the work week encouraging everyone to take pride in having a vision.  Because many people don't.  

Monday (12/7/2015)

Wednesday (12/9/2015)

Thursday (12/10/2015)

Friday (12/11/2015)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Cashier Confessions | WEEK 1

I created this series of videos (certainly more will come) while taking a break on my 9-5 day job.  It can be stressful and discouraging having to work at a job you don’t like or have a vision for.  And it can be even more stressful and discouraging when you know your passion is calling you.  That’s how I ended up here.  On this blog.  On Spreadshirt and Zazzle.  On Youtube.  I needed to open up my own space for opportunities.  And that’s what I’ve been doing the past three years.  And loving it all along the way!  So these videos are here to motivate and encourage those in my shoes.  As well as anyone else searching for a change–a miracles of sorts–in their lives.

Anything can happen, people!  Don't give up!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Lost Quotes #2

I was clearing out my phone when I ran across another set of lost quotes.  Allow me to share them with you, as we move into the final month of the year and on into 2016.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Currently-Reading Hustle (Video)

B O O K S M E N T I O N (All links are Amazon affiliate)

1. Buffy, The Vampire Slayer Tempted Champions by Yvonne Navarro ~
2. Young Miss Holmes by Kaoru Shintani ~
3. A Free Life by Ha Jin ~
4. A Mind to Murder by P. D. James ~
5. Perfect Peace by Daniel Black ~
6. God is Always Hiring by Regina Brett ~
7. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris ~



Saturday, June 27, 2015

+ SpreadShirt Unbagging + (VIDEO)

What's up Comic Towel friends and visitors.  Time to share my very first Spreadshirt purchase–directly from my Spreadshirt shop.  I hope you guys enjoy.  Please comment and share.  Don't forget to post and share your own stories and dream-seeking progressions.  Lol.  You get what I mean!

Take care!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Kelly Cutrone Says!

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. Kelly Cutrone. You’ve probably seen her first on the MTV shows The Hills or The City (my personal favorite was The City; never got into The Hills). Perhaps you’ve seen her as a judge on America’s Next Top-Model. Or maybe you were introduced to her via her 8-episode Bravo reality show, Kell on Earth (I think you can still binge watch it on Netflix). Wherever you were introduced to Kelly, it has to be clear by now that she’s the CEO and founder of People’s Revolution.  You know.  One of the most acknowledged fashion PR establishments ever. Furthermore, should you be familiar with her, you've already realized she’s a no-bullshitter who doesn’t appear to have an ounce of hesitation as it regards speaking her ballsy mind.

No seriously, she gets in people’s asses quite frequently if you haven't noticed. So wherever the platform or media of your discovery, you’ve witnessed how she has a strong opinion and a will to match. She’s often condescending to others, and can be interpreted as a bully. However, she also works her ass off with a tide of people–both clients and employees–to support. Let’s just imagine what it would take to pull off five fashion shows for New York Fashion Week. Once visualized, it’s apparent that she doesn’t have time for flip-flops and BS. And Normal Gets You Nowhere couldn’t be a better window into why Kelly is the way Kelly is. This works for me because I respected Kelly's drive and outspokenness, previous to Normal Gets You Nowhere.  Besides, I'm drawn to people I feel I can learn something valuable from–and Kelly Cutrone is definitely one of those individuals. Therefore, for the most part, her book satisfied; Cutrone shares her advice on society, sex, religion, death, motherhood, and careers in one swift go.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Slow Days in July

Just a few random pictures I took with my phone over the week.  My best friend and I were downtown eating and trolling through the open-air market and other historical sites when we remembered that we hadn't taken any pictures.  Combine that with my forgetfulness for writing this week's events down in my journal, and I decided to just post a few pictures on the blog as a means of cheating.

These lofts are kind of a dream home of mine.  I have a vision board, but this place isn't up there yet.  Nonetheless, it's at the forefront of my desires.  If PCH sent me a check (or I made good money from doing what I love), I would vouch for a top floor corner unit facing West.  Lots of natural air and light.

I always tell people that staying here would be the one reason to keep me in town while my heart sings to move Westward or three hours East (again).  Still, I really am fond of this dream I have of staying in this place.  For at least a year!

While it is terribly small and slow, I love my city's downtown area.  It's filled with not only historical homes/buildings, but also little alleyways and nooks perfect for exploring on foot.  Not to mention areas of cobbled road.  Oh, and ghosts!  Nevertheless, the area is growing every day.  The detective story I started writing two years ago takes place in a fictional downtown inspired by my own.

The building on the right was built in 1821 for cotton traders.  It's now a restaurant where you can get crispy skinned gulf red snapper for $31.  Needless to say, I just admire the building as I walk along.

A small area of historical homes and stores preserved as a museum and touring location.  If you're from here, chances are you took a field trip out here in the third grade.

The building we're standing on is where in July of 2004 (ten years ago exact) I went to apply for a job as an extra in a movie that was filming in our city.  For two long days I worked toward my screen "debut" as a military man waiting to board a train.  I got sprayed with a hosepipe as a form of rain, and ate Salisbury steak underneath a tent separate from the leading actors–which included Gabrielle Union and Billy Dee Williams.  That was super cool!   

A month or so later, I got a $110 check for my work.  It was a check that I desperately needed at the time because I didn't have a job.  In any regard, being an extra in a movie was a great and treasured event.

That's all I got for now.  Thanks, everyone for stopping by.  I really didn't want to let this pictures stay tucked away in my phone. (^_^)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

(2) Quotes You May Need From Maya Angelou

Thank you for continuing.  Let's commence...

"What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it.  If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.  Don't complain."

Lord help me.  This quote takes me back to my early twenties when I was out of high school and realizing life wasn't what I dreamed it would be--so a part of me wanted to go back to high school.  That's not to say that as I approach 31 I have escaped my need to lay down and whine into the earth.  

It's safe to say that much of that whining has tapered down due to growth.  However, I can recall days where I screamed for life to open up to me.  From 18-21 I worked a fast food job where every day I ached over life, and how I didn't want to be at that job.  I still do it a little these days--or maybe more than I should.  The difference is that I now acknowledge that I have a switch in my mind.  It's ready for me to hit it, turning off my need to complain.  It takes some practice, but many times I just wish I would shut the hell up about a situation.  So I do it.  I hit the switch and revert to singing instead.  It's the easiest way to shut me up and vibrate something a lot less negative.

"Too many times for comfort I have expected to reap good when I know I have sown evil.  My lame excuse is that I have not always known that actions can only reproduce themselves, or rather, I have not always allowed myself to be aware of that knowledge.  Now, after years of observation and enough courage to admit what I have observed, I try to plant peace if I do not want discord; to plant loyalty and honesty if I want to avoid betrayal and lies."

I think I learned this somewhere in my childhood, in the form of how lies bring ugly inner and outer consequences.  I say this both from my experience telling lies, and watching a friend compulsively bask in them.  They never really lead to a good place inside of you, especially when they draw bad things to the outer you.  

Nonetheless, the phrase/idiom "you reap what you sow" is probably this quote at its barest.  It really goes without saying that what you put out you get back.  How you live life is how you'll see it.  Such expressions go on and on.  

"Many adults show impatience with the young.  They want them not only to grow up, but to grow old, and that immediately.  They are quick to chide, criticize, and admonish..."

My mom tried to make me as responsible-oriented the minute she could.  I was a baby warming up baby bottles for my sister.  I was a toddler fixing "innovative" sandwiches for our lunch.  I was always "watching" and "tending".  But nobody was really asking me about me.  If I was being my naturally silly self (which I learned early on to keep in low profile), I was told to stop it.  I couldn't have the haircut I wanted, so I hated getting haircuts.  When I wanted a pair of boots that I liked, I was quickly asked what for.  As if those boots were going to interrupt an image someone plastered on me, instead of unleashing the image I wanted to build of myself.  

I once asked my mom could I borrow her hoodie zip-up, because lots of kids wore them.  It was simple and dark blue.  Nothing bedazzled or sparkling.  Fitted me just fine.  Instead, I received an attitude for asking.  Without an issue, my sister did the same thing and wore the same hoodie frequently compared to my single time.  

I couldn't even have graphic tees to even feel marginally cool in school.  And from there the list goes on.  So growing up I was in a shell.  There was me, books, games, ideas, and drawings.  And a tremendous amount of developing self-respect.  Nevertheless, nobody asked me about my interest or desires.  I believe everyone always assumed that I was too level-headed and complacent to even be asked.  Everyone figured because I was quiet that I was smart and mature and had so much figured out.  However, I was also hopelessly doubtful about my future because nobody was taking part in blossoming my ideas and creativity as a kid.

"We must re-create an attractive and caring attitude in our homes and in our worlds.  If our children are to approve of themselves, they must see that we approve of ourselves.  If we persist in self-disrespect and then ask our children to respect themselves, it is as if we break all their bones and then insist that they win Olympic gold medals for the hundred-yard dash."

Ever heard of that Whitney Houston song "Greatest Love of All"?  Of course you have.  Now think about it lyrically.  I think this quote ties into that song, as well as the previous quote.  Soak on that for a minute and tell me if you gather the connection?  

Did you every grow up looking up to someone with a hint of distaste in areas you saw didn't fulfill your vision of them, as well as what you wanted to be from them?  I have.  As a child, it wasn't enough for me to look up to the adults around me.  I learned their sassy ways of back-talking each other to get their point across.  As well as their strength, willpower, and determination as striking characteristics over adverse times.  But I also grew up seeing limits in those individuals.  So no.  I still needed someone who dreamed and succeeded in manifesting what I wanted to do, or at least obtained the aura of limitlessness concerning success.  I wanted someone to show me how to earn a college degree.  Someone to show me how to be a singer and actor.  A writer and artist.  No one showed me how to do those things.  No one showed me how to believe in things.  So I had to learned to show myself, driven by this fragile ambition that those who put limits on life insisted that mine was limitless without ever expressing that to me through their own mouths.

"I arrived at the conclusion that if a man came along who seemed to me to be honest and sincere, who wanted to make me laugh and succeeded in doing so, a man who had a lilting spirit--if such a man came along who had a respect for other human beings, then if he was Swedish, African, or a Japanese sumo wrestler, I would certainly give him my attention, and I would not struggle too hard if he caught me in a web of charm."

The sex in this quotes irrelevant.  Nevertheless, the quote translates to me that you'll never know how love arrives in your life only when it has.  I was never good with romantic kind of love, but I've seen friends and family members go to war to make something that isn't right--right.  Eventually it explodes with all the pressure put into it, and the real emotional war begins.  But I think we all pray that love comes effortlessly.  Even if we have to tweak it with effort.  Something about "tweak" implies changing an individual, though.  So I don't know...

"I am never proud to participate in violence, yet I know that each of us must care enough for ourselves to be ready and able to come to our own self-defense."

Now a quote like this certainly describes what I learned directly and indirectly from those around me growing up.  As well as what I learned cherishing myself in those times I felt that was all I had.  I get sad when I see someone beat over the head concerning their lack of self-esteem.  And I get mad when I see bullies who think they can take it from someone.  People will try to take it from you and it's your job to make a stance on containing it.  Even if you have to knock somebody out to make that clear.

"Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, lovers, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.

A great closing quote.  I think I've shared so much between these two post and hope to hear your stories and what quotes you identify with and in which way.  In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and reading.  There's more to share, but I encourage anyone who hasn't read this book [Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now] to find it now.

So grateful.

Didn't read the first half?  No?  Then here!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

India.Arie's "Break the Shell"

I just had to share this song by India.Arie.  Since her latest album, SongVersation, came out back in June, I’ve been trying to find ways to share my love of its material through my blog.  There is just so much to examine on this album, and so many lessons in relation to our lives as we try to better ourselves.  All of this is told consciously through Arie's amazing voice, of course.  And since I like taking a closer look at life here, I felt like this album would provide a perfect source to do so.  

The song I’m featuring is India.Arie’s song “Break the Shell”, a powerful song about feeling and living life while in display of our vulnerabilities.  Many times we allow our past and circumstances to build walls around us, walls that keep us from breaking out into our Truth and living the life that we desire.  How often do we suffocate our Truth to maintain that veneer of personal dishonesty, or to feel connected with others while disconnected inside?  What kind of freedoms do when gain when we break down our walls and allow the world to see us fly?  Listen to the performance, read the lyrics, and decide.

"Break the Shell"

I met a prophet dark as the night
She could see into my soul
Said she'd been watching and had some advice
She said shadows make you whole
A Life without pain is a wolf in sheep's clothes
'Cause if you listen to the lessons that it holds, you'll
find the gold

Child it's time to break the shell
Life's gonna hurt but it's meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly, until you break the shell

I can remember when I was a child
How the grown folks seemed so crazy
Why are they so angry?  Why are they so loud?
And when I grow up that's never, ever gonna be me
That was the moment that I decide
That I would build a wall just shy of 6 feet tall, too
strong to fall

Child it's time to break the shell
Life's gonna hurt but it's meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly, until you break the shell

Courage is not being hard
It's time to peel back all the layers
You put between who you're meant to be
And who you are
And go be who you are

So much disappointment to finally understand
That there is no such thing as perfect
We're all simply doing the best that we can
And we have the choice to live or truly be alive
This is your life

Child it's time to break the shell
Life's gonna hurt but it's meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly, until you break the shell

Child it's time to break the shell
Life's gonna hurt but it's meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly, until you break the shell

Do with these words what you will
It's time for us to be for real
You'll be stuck on the ground until
You finally break the shell

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Manga Realness: "Eerie Queerie!" by Shuri Shiozu

Hi, everyone.  For those who are new to my blog, welcome.  For those returning, welcome back and thanks.  Should I tone down all the colors? (^_^)  

I made the--now titled--Comic Towel to create a space where I can promote my Zazzle store/drawings and my interest in literature, manga, and philosophies (some personal).  Sounds like a lot, but as I find myself delving into the materials that I love in each category, I can’t help but want to share and create conversations about them and how they relate to my life.  A side objective to that is to help motivate and inspire others by finding inspiration in all mediums.

With that said, I would like to find some of that inspiration in
Awkwardness of Mitsuo Shiozu
Manga Realness Number 3: Shuri Shiozu’s Eerie Queerie (the original Japanese title is Gosuto!, or Ghost!).  The English adaptation title of Eerie Queerie is more or less a play on the fact that this manga series is within the shonen-ai genre, or "Boy’s Love".  That’s Boy’s Love in the sense that it features gay characters/themes.  See, the story is about a cumbersome high school teen name Mitsuo Shiozu [uke].  His cumbersomeness isn’t pressed upon him simply because of the awkward stage we all face in high school.  No, Mitsuo just happens to be a spirit medium, meaning he communicates with the dead.  Therefore, he has every reason to be weird, soft, and many times over dramatic   He has a lot to deal with besides crushing over boys--or hiding it, rather.  Undoubtedly, the paranormal aspect drew me into the four-volume series as it appease to my love of Japanese kwaidan stories.  Of course in a severely cutesy, melodramatic manga-style fashion.  Naturally, there are better manga featuring stories of the occult and paranormal, but Eerie Queerie! ranks a little differently with its shonen-ai elements.

The Handsomely Dedicated, Hasunuma
The problem Mitsuo finds himself in lies in his ability to become possessed by the ghost that he runs across.  Usually, they are female.  And usually, they uphold a somewhat unrequited love of a certain male classmate.  Tucked within Mitsuo’s body, these ghost seek the returning affection of those who’ve obtained their attention in life.  This leads to further awkwardness and a pattern of misunderstandings that creates a love triangle between Mitsuo and the popular boy in school, Hasunuma [seme].  The third piece of the triangle belongs to the neatly handsome, Ichi.  With the romantic stage set, the battle for Mitsuo’s affections commences through this winding series of miscommunication, bad intentions, hidden secrets, and desperate apparitions.  The crux of much of Hasunuma and Ichi’s intent is to both love and protect Mitsuo.  Which also fuels Mitsuo’s desire to strengthen himself from the weedy boy he started as?  

So will Mitsuo allow one of the boys in?  Will he gain the change that
The Competition, Ichi
he seeks in himself?  It’s all whimsical, comedic entertainment at its best.  However, the magnetism of watching your archetypal bad boy (in this case, Hasunuma) fall for the likes of Mitsuo is just too sweet to turn away.  Mainly because we see it all the time in conventional romance stories where the bad boy is reformed through the admiration of the good girl.  In essence, there isn't much differences in any budding relationships, despite the sex of the partners.  This, and the slow pace of love taken in this series, is the reason I loved Eerie Queerie!

Small Japanese vocabulary lesson in concerns to shonen-ai/yaoi genres...

The Uke and the Seme.  Guess who is which?
A uke character is normally described as the fail, feminine character in the dynamics of the male-male relationship.  The seme character is the opposite.  He is the moody, brawny character that often is overprotective of his uke.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Alice Walker and Parental Guilt

In the beginning of Alice Walker's “Everyday Use” we are introduced to Mama and her unconditional love for her two daughters, including the rather errant one named, Dee.  It is Dee that Mama is waiting for in the opening line that reads: “I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon.”  With Maggie as the other sister, this is Walker’s way of passing on to the reader that there is a sense of desperation in their expectancy.  The more you read, the more you realize how stressed the character of Mama is for the return of her daughter, Dee.  The opening paragraph further discloses that Mama views her yard as “comfortable” and an “extended living room”; every aspect of her home has to be in place for this return.  You have to ask yourself why?  Why all of the fuss, Mama?  Why are you placing your best efforts into appearing approachable and damn near spotless for your grown child's return home?  Shouldn't it be the other way around?

I believe that this opening illustrates the sense of disconnect within the story itself.  There is an obvious split between the two generations of women as a mother and a daughter.  Could you believe that a mother acknowledges that her child has changed so much that she must break her back to appease the transformation in her offspring?  Where does that come from?  Guilt of some sort?  Or is it simply a way to change and attract her child back to her roots?  Maybe it's a combination of guilt for not maintaining her child as well as her holding unshakable pride in her background.  Therefore, Mama has to polish the house and yard to remind Dee how wonderful home is.  However, at Dee's return, we learn that Dee is of a worldly perspective now.  She considers herself cultured and can easily frown upon the upbringing she tried to shed herself away from by leaving Mama's home.

This is only a quarter of the battle within this short story.  A fraction of all that's available.  Without a doubt Walker's story serves readers themes concerning upholding one's identity through inheritance (Dee returns home to take away an antique heirloom).  It is also a story meant to remind individuals never to lose sight of their background, even as they venture out into new worlds, conversations, and lives that differ from their roots.  So at the conclusion of Dee's visit, Mama expresses the simplicity behind being true to oneself by stating: "…But a real smile, not scared.  After we watched the car dust settle I asked Maggie to bring me a dip of snuff.  And then the two of us sat there just enjoying, until it was time to go in the house and go to bed.”   

Should you find time to read the story, you may find a simple story about a mother’s imperfectly unconditional love for her two adult daughters, Dee and Maggie, worth diving into.  I have to confess that the only thing I've read by Alice Walker besides “Everyday Use” is The Color Purple.  Who hasn't read that, right?  Once I tried reading Now is the Time to Open Your Heart by her and just could not get into the novel.  So I really need to read more of Walker, knowing that she has so much more to offer as an intensely copious author.  Shame on me!

I read “Everyday Use” a few years ago for a class and recently got to thinking about the push-and-pull relationship with my own mother, seeing that Walker's story features mothers and grown children.  As my own mother's eldest child, I used to feel like she treated me differently than my younger sister.  I’m not really sure if it was because I was the oldest, and therefore driven to be hyper responsible.  Or was it because I was a boy when she may have wanted a girl?  Or was it something different altogether?  I can imagine a scenario where she spotted something in me that required extra molding.  Yet... who knows?  Or do I care to truly know?  See, there are always these places we can’t go with family members and friends, places that seem dark, with the potential to cause disruptions to our relationships.  And while the conversation was more or less oblique than directly spoken of, recently my mother has sort of apologized for some of the things she’s done to have made me feel some of the ways I’ve felt growing up.  

In her estimation it had a lot to do with what she was dealing with herself during the time of my youth.  In any regard, Walker’s short story nudged at my thoughts and I dug up a little in the notes I wrote on it for myself to share and discover answers to any of my own looming questions.  The biggest answer is that we are who we are.  Our parents and their parents and their parents make us, whether we respond one way or the other to their degrees of generational child rearing.  And when we grow to blame and resent our parents for their attempts, we sometimes ignore the guilt that they suffer with.  Many times our parents are only working with what they have, and not just physically speaking.  We all do the best that we can with the tools and understanding that we were given, even our mothers and fathers.

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