Construct Your Own Masterpiece

Construct Your Own Masterpiece

It all starts with one brick
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Our inevitable fate lays in the hands of one person. It is a scary thought to think the entire existence of someone is held in the grasp of an individual who is not too tall, but not too short. Not too big, but not too small. They have eyes which hold a vision. A mind which holds an abundance of knowledge. And a heart. A heart which systematically pumps every vein of your body and is the main source human life requires. And that single heart holds solid gold.

It is invisible to the naked eye but holds so many treasures to anyone it touches. This individual is not standing to your left or right. They are not hovering up above. They can only be seen by a reflection. YOU. You hold the truths to life itself. You direct the paths which you may take. You bounce through every obstacle which matches the challenges you face. You are your own savior.

As we go through our daily lives, there is always this doubt and this time period where we lose ourselves. Not actually ‘lost’, but rather spiritually, mentally, or even physically. We decide to “let ourselves go” and the outcome of that is losing control because we allow someone else to take the reins of our own masterpiece.

It is as if we spent however many years designing, structuring, assembling, and constructing this magnificent building. Then one day we get lazy and hand it over to someone with a completely different vision and they destroy your plans. What do you do? Do you tear down the entire building or just remove their impact?

There is just one brick out of place and it ruins our entire attitude. That is where we lose faith in humanity and in ourselves. We feel as if we have failed ourselves and that we can never rebuild because it will take too long, or we have no time.

There is always enough time when you make the time.

A building which is not complete cannot hold its purpose. You can't use a single brick to finish it, you can't leave gaps in the walls. It cannot be a shelter, it cannot care for another life. No one can live in a home under construction with no framework or no roof. So how do you expect to be able to live to your full potential without ever completing your masterpiece?

Now I am no carpenter, honestly, if you hand me a hammer there may be some risk with your decision. I cannot build a house from scratch single-handedly. I do need help. So does everyone else. Not to say that you have to ignore your masterpiece to help someone else, but you have to learn to build with those you surround yourself with.

Even when we deny it and say you will be okay alone, we are just fooling ourselves until our structure collapses on us and we lose faith in our ability to ever amount to anything. We need support. It sucks but it’s true and the sad part is, most people don’t realize until they are stuck underneath the rubble.

To put it in a different view… you build a house of cards and, being the perfectionist, you are, you see one microscopic mistake. One card is turned in the wrong direction. The structure is stable, but it doesn’t look like we want it to. Is it time to scrap the entire project and start over? Should you give up and leave it be while knowing it is not what you want?

Some people will read this and know exactly what to do, I am not one of those people. I have no idea what to do to fix this part of my structure because I cannot let go. I like taking on new opportunities and accepting new challenges. I like saying yes to anyone in need of help, and in return I am helping construct their masterpiece and leaving mine in the back, knowing that one card needs to be fixed. That is when I learn to ask for help.

You make your own choices and determine your own fate. The attitude of those you surround yourself with can completely rearrange a situation. For example, I tend to have bad anxiety and when my nerves get too clustered, I shake. Yes, like a chihuahua. It isn’t something I can control and when it happens I go into a panic mode where I feel like I have no control over my own body.

Dylan, my boyfriend, can always tell when it is about to happen and no matter what is happening at that moment, whether we were in an argument or just sitting and talking, even when he feels lost and drained himself, he will immediately flip his attitude to help me before himself. He will talk to me and calm me down or even silently just hold my hand and whisper “it is going to be okay, I am here for you."

That one act nearly instantaneously calms my nerves. It is because at that moment you see the treasure in someone’s heart of gold. You see the sparkle in their eyes with a vision of the future and the small smirk in their smile which says everything you need to hear and immediately transcribes to your mind saying “I will get through this” because you have the support you need. It is when you see who they are.

It sounds so simple, but it is rarer than you think. Everyone doesn’t have their “person” who will correct them when they are wrong or be there when they feel lost. If you don’t have that person, think again, because like I said earlier, you are your savior.

When you feel yourself doubting instinct, realize why it is happening. Realize that things happen for a reason and not to give up. As soon as you give up, your masterpiece will begin to rot and decay and the day you need shelter, it will be destroyed.

I challenge you to stop procrastinating. Stop giving your life over to fate or into other hands. Yes, fate is inevitable, but nothing happens just because you want it to happen. You have to work, you have to have a vision of success which you will jump through obstacles to succeed. You have to thank those on your journey and realize that they were put by your side with a purpose to help you, not destroy you.

When you come to the end of your journey, it should be a masterpiece you want to show off to the world. A structure you are proud to call yours and you take pride in keeping it clean and organized. It is a life-long journey, but it starts at this moment, right here, right now. Grab a brick and hold your own fate in your own hands. Start building.

Cover Image Credit: Tish Cama

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!

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Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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