An Ode To Concrete

An Ode To Concrete

It's more than just an abstraction.
30
views

It lies underneath your feet. Surrounds you on all four sides. Closes you in, always present. But you are not scared of it. You don’t even notice it. You live your life constantly passing it by, never giving it a second glance. It does not harm you. If anything, it protects you, yet you never thank it. You walk all over it, creating cracks in it, destroying it underneath your weight, mercilessly eroding its substance. You don’t even care.

Recall a fall. The Greats. No longer existing except within the paragraphs of our textbooks. It is asked, “What have the Romans ever done for us?” It is answered, “Created a foundation.” Classical art inspired the Renaissance, bringing forth the work of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael. Classical ideology drove democracy, ideas of progress for the people. Classical language is the heart of our lingua franca, the root of our words, spoken to create a better world. We look to the classics for the aesthetically pleasing, to find beauty in the human and the natural world. The Romans revolutionized. A foundation for art, language, beauty - we are taught this and remember this. But where would we be without the dull, gray, cold substance that cemented the glory of the Romans? Concrete built our world. The arch and the aqueduct. The Colosseum and the Pantheon. The sidewalk and the cinderblock. The edifice and the expressway.

Recall a fall. Face down on the concrete. When you tripped, the force of your tumble could have broken bones, shattered ribs, torn flesh. Yet the concrete remains there, unchanged and unmoving, mocking you for being so fragile. But what would you do without it? The concrete built your home. It built the sidewalk that will lead you back there. It built the pipes that quench your thirst. It built the archways, the pathways, the stairways. You remain on the gray ground, spread your fingers across its surface. Cold and hard. Breathing in, you are reminded that you are alive. You recall the greatness of the Romans, how they once fell.

Recall a fall. It hurts, but there’s no blood. A fall from grace. You sit in a concrete stairwell. Alone. As you rest your head against the wall, you remember the cinderblocks that enclosed your high school. You reminisce about the facts you learned then, recalling that this substance you lean against is the very substance that proclaimed the victory of Titus, the grandeur of Flavian. Your sadness will die, as will you. But the concrete will hardly feel the blow of one hundred years passing by. No matter how many bridges you burn, the concrete overpasses stand tall. No matter how many times you damn yourself, the concrete dams hold back the river. You are not healed, but the concrete walls around you and the concrete stairs beneath you insist that the world will go on another day.

Recall a rise. Look up, around you, beneath you. The doorway you pass through. The water you drink. The floor your feet walk upon. These are not abstract ideas. They are concrete victories. The rise of a groundwork, a literal foundation. Civilization, architecture, art, construction - the whole world as we know it- depend upon it. Its strength surpasses the death of man. Its simplicity astounds. The dull gray surrounds us and gives us life.
Cover Image Credit: tumblr.com

Popular Right Now

To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

709866
views

To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

8 Reasons I'll Take In-Store Shopping Over Online Shopping Any Day

In-store shopping shouldn't be disregarded.

185
views

Lately, there have been many department stores closing due to the rise of online shopping as opposed to in-store shopping. According to Fox Business, this includes department stores such as Payless, Gymboree, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Dress Barn. The close of so many retail stores has led to more questions as to whether online shopping will become the only method of shopping.

However, just like with reading on a Kindle versus reading an actual book, not everyone prefers shopping online. At least, I don't prefer online shopping, and yes, I have tried shopping online for almost everything.

Here are eight reasons why shopping in the store will always be better than online shopping, no matter what other people have stated.

1. You can try on clothes

Clothes

Pixabay

This is one of the biggest problems I have with online shopping! You can't try on the clothes before buying them online. Sure, you can try on the clothes you get once they've been shipped. But if you have trouble finding the right size, especially since for women every size in almost any store varies, then it becomes more of a hassle.

Yes, a lot of online shopping sites have a "find the right size" menu where it gives you multiple measurements that match certain sizes. But most of those measurements include waist, hip, stomach sizes, and who has time to measure all of that?

2. You can expect what you're going to get

Shopping

Becca McHaffie / Unsplash

With in-store shopping, you usually know what you get with buying an item. You know what the item looks like from seeing it in person, or with clothes you've felt the fabric and seen what it looks like in person. With online shopping, you basically don't know for sure what to expect until you receive the item in the mail. There are a lot of sites that may try to scam you where they'll present you with a clothing item that looks nice on the model until you receive it and it looks nothing like what you saw online. At least with in-store shopping, this doesn't happen as often.

3. No shipping expenses

Cost

Artem Beliaikin / Unsplash

The nice part with in-store shopping is you don't have to spend extra expenses on shipping. Although there are times when online shopping sites offer free shipping, on some sites, it's hard to find free shipping. And on a lot of sites, they will try to offer free shipping only if you buy items that are $50 or more, which means you have to pay for more to receive free shipping.

4. No wait to receive what you buy

Shipped Box

Tyler / Flickr

The great part about in-store shopping is you get the item right away, unless you ask for the item to be ordered in the store. With online shopping, you have to wait for the item to be sent. And although there are some shipping options that allow one-day shipping, you'll sometimes be charged more to receive the item early. With in-store shopping, at least you get the outfit you want or item you need as soon as you pay for it.

5. You can avoid additional shipping hazards

Shipping

Bench Accounting / Unsplash

There are a lot of other shipping hassles that you have to go through besides waiting for the item to be shipped and the cost of shipping. You also have to worry about the item getting lost in the mail or if you'll receive it at the right address. And sometimes the item can get damaged during transit, which makes you feel like you wasted all of your money on buying the it.

6. You can speak to a sales representative in person

Sales Representative

Blake Wisz / Unsplash

This is especially helpful for buying bras or a dress. With in-store shopping, you can talk to a sales representative and get their opinion before buying the item. Sure, online shopping has someone you can talk to online, but it's not the same since you aren't talking to them in person or trying on the clothes in front of them. With in-store shopping, they can give you advice when you try on the item and offer you alternatives if it doesn't fit, whereas with online shopping, they can only offer you general advice without seeing you try on the item.

7. The option to pay with cash

Cash

Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

If you hate paying with a debit card, then you probably would prefer in-store shopping. The problem with online shopping is that you can't pay with cash since you can't exactly transfer real money online except through a debit card. With in-store shopping, you at least always have the option of paying with cash.

8. You miss the experience of shopping in person

Shopping

freestocks.org / Unsplash

Lastly, what most people don't seem to understand is that with online shopping, you don't get the whole experience with in-store shopping. You don't get to walk through a mall, try on clothes, finger through the fabric, or see clothes or items in person. Instead, you have to sit behind a computer and shop. Though many people may like online shopping because you don't have to go through the hassle of dealing with people or lines in a store, you still miss out on real experiences with shopping.

So many people are already found in their houses behind a computer screen or buried in their phones. We already miss out on real experiences because we're too caught up in the digital world. So why should we do the same with shopping?

As you can see, shopping in person can have its own benefits to it. I'm not saying that online shopping is completely bad where you may not be able to purchase the item in the store. However, I also don't think that in-store shopping should be disregarded for online shopping. Not everyone enjoys shopping online completely, and by getting rid of in-store shopping, we miss out on the many different experiences that come with it.

Related Content

Facebook Comments