Like Versus Love

I love music.

Ask me 10 things I like and I’ll say things along the lines of: ice cream, the TV show Arrow, Avatar, swimming, running etc.

Ask me 10 things I love, and things become more complicated.

There are things that we are supposed to love, like our friends, family, or a sport we’ve played since we were still in the womb, but as time has gone on, I’ve been trying to distinguish the difference between liking and loving, and why exactly we all feel compelled to give often true but very similar answers when asked what it is we love most.

This whole train of ideas started a while back in my school’s advisory when my teacher asked the class whether we would rather be deaf or blind. Now for me, I have always wanted to learn sign language, so I’ve always chosen to be deaf. I’ve been asked this question numerous times and have always been pretty confident in my answer, but I have a friend who always chooses the opposite; she would take blindness any day over losing her ability to listen to music.  

At the time I said something along the lines of “Yeah, I feel that, but I mean, I still wanna see stuff.” (Yes, I know, my eloquence is outstanding, thanks for noticing.) When I think about that now, that I could never hear my favorite songs again, I feel something strange and empty that quite literally hurts my heart. I don’t think I’ve ever gone a day without listening to something, even now as I write this article I have Ludovico Einaudi’s slow, beautiful piano melodies streaming through the speakers on my laptop. Music has been a method of escape for as long as I can remember, whether it be blasting Novocaine by Fall Out Boy to drown out my mother’s lectures, or staring out the window on a rainy day imagining that I’m a character in some sad movie while I listen to Kodaline’s What It Is.

When it’s 1:00 in the morning on a Tuesday and I can’t turn off my brain, I’m listening to Tyler Joseph’s precious voice crack through my headphones. When I’m ready to punch a wall or an obnoxious sixth grader on my bus, my shock over Brendon Urie’s unbelievable vocal range keep my fists by my side.

I guess the point of all these examples is to illustrate that I don’t just like music because it sounds good or it’s fun to dance to, I live through lyrics and my heart beats to the rhythms hammered out on drum sets. Music is more than something to include on the “my interests” part of my profile, It’s something I’m passionate about- something I love.

Acknowledging this made me wonder- what else do I love? What else stirs up indescribable tremors in my chest? I thought about the things that I do that make me excited beyond reason when I talk about, things that are constantly on my mind, things that I can’t imagine living without.

I love writing, I love books, I love to travel and learn languages, I love adrenaline. There are more things to love in my life than I realized. If I’m ever feeling miserable and stressed and I can’t seem to find anything that I want to do- nothing left to do that I like- I picture that feeling of true ease and adoration that I get when I do things I love, and that’s enough of a distraction to pull myself out of that dark space.

I never want to undervalue the importance of ice cream, my favorite TV shows and other things I like, because those can be my little spurts of happiness as I go throughout my day, but it’s the consistency and solidity of those few things I truly love that keep me moving.

I’m still not sure whether I would prefer to be deaf or blind (that practical part of my brain makes choosing too difficult) but I’m glad that I can’t find an answer. There are things I love about my ears and my eyes. At the end of the day, that silly little question sparked an entire wave of ideas about the difference between appreciation and adoration, and I hope that something within this article ignited some thoughts in you. Go on, think, “ponder of something great”, search for that feeling, you’ll know it when you find it; it’s called love.

Mandy Signature

Grades Don’t Define Me, Personality Does

Character v. Grades

A couple weeks ago I got a quiz back in Algebra class. As I was flipping through and trying to understand where I went wrong, I noticed that my teacher had added up my points wrong. She accidentally gave me an extra point.

Naturally my first thought was to just leave it, this teacher is unpredictable, honesty might not be the best route. “Thanks for being honest, but I’m still going to subtract the point” is not an answer I wanted to hear. But the more I thought about it, the guiltier I was feeling. I pride myself on being an honest kid, I’ve even convinced myself I’m a bad liar to rid myself of the habit. I didn’t want to break my streak so to say, yet I also wanted to keep my score.

I asked my friend what I should do, because I can’t make decisions for myself, and she of course agreed that my teacher was unpredictable, but also said I should be a good person and be honest. The thing is, usually my grades aren’t my biggest concern, but I didn’t do so hot on my last quiz and it was near the end of the year so there wasn’t much room for second chances.

Now bless my good old friend sitting next to me because she said something that really stuck with me and I think is a great piece of advice. She said to me, “Jessie, you beautiful, wise, independent, generous, brilliant, funny, respectful fallen angel, would you rather have this moment define your character or your grade”? And I thought to myself, “Damn”. That’s a pretty damn good piece of advice especially considering I think grades and tests are worthless. So I stood up and told my teacher that my grade should really be one point lower, but she just whispered to me that it didn’t matter and that I could keep it. A very anticlimactic end to all my inner turmoil, but nonetheless I was thankful that my friend uttered those words.

I would rather be known as an honest and respectful person than the kid who got an A on her math quiz. Who I am as a person will always be more important to me than what I get as a grade in a class, and I hope that whoever reads this agrees.

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