Paralyzed Time At 7:07

Paralyzed Time At 7:07

A box in the middle of nowhere
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My watch froze at 7:07, many things could be attributed to its paralysis. Maybe it became paralyzed the moments time stopped for its wearer. Few are the moments in one’s life were life hits you with blows stronger than the human mind can process. Sometimes it makes you see colors where there once was plain canvases. Other moments it pulls at your lifeline and requires you to fall on your knees and pray to your deity or life itself.

The moments that embrace the human condition can be characterized as dramatic because of their impact on fast-paced “lifers.” Life truly never stops in reality, but it makes me question why it is that one has to suddenly stop and hold at the imaginary rails.

It was 7:00 pm, the wind was stronger than it had been in weeks. Its force was destructive to the point of ripping the scarf from my neck. I was in the middle of a forested trail going up a steep climb, towards my secluded hiding spot behind a group of trees at the top of the mountain. A minute had passed and thoughts began flashing through my mind as I escalated the dusty trail with bushes hiding stalker raccoons.

Every time I’ve told people my life anecdotes, there are always raccoons, to which I can assert their presence 99 percent of the time. I reached the top by 7:02 and took in the view. Before me were the peaks of a majestic church, the city to my left and the ocean to my right. I had to sit on the bench to prevent my death because no matter how many times I’ve gone up that trail I still have to catch my breath. Making sure no one saw me, I directed myself through the path between the dense line of trees and walked for 35 seconds exactly, until I reached the patch of land that was encircled by the trees.

The expiration date to abandon this place was arriving and a nostalgic wave began to swoon over me. I sat in the semicircle on the wooden box I had used as a chair all those months. The sun was setting and the ocean touched the sunset almost like a painting. Up here the wind was violent and the sounds from the city had ceased. The “Gandhi Spot” as I had come to refer it, was a place where I spoke to myself and maybe God. There was a mental shift where I bid the sunlight farewell some days and where I truly got to think.

The day was May 17 and thus the day my watch, at 7:07 completely stopped. I don’t believe in coincidences, but as I looked perplexed at my paralyzed watch it hypnotized me to the point of receiving a wave of realization. I realized how human I was. How, in a series of weeks of going through life like an automaton I had reached the top of the mountain, once more, with a change in my persona.

Perhaps I could argue the end of this moment in time had resulted in me being able to recite my whole notes on brain anatomy, but it was more than that. The lens through which I had viewed circumstances had shifted into a more focused shot. It was a moment in which perhaps the symbolic stop of time of the watch had ordered me to stop as well. There was a sudden necessity to crawl into my mother’s arms and cry. But how was I to do that? I was supposed to be a grown woman, a woman with knowledge and strength?

I did not want to look weak. Yet in the real world I had lost the essence of innocence I had arrived with. I felt weak of heart, and I felt the urge to cry. I felt the necessity to be a child again, to come home to my pink bed and book-filled shelves. I missed my childhood adventures of baking cakes in microwaves with my neighbor, of keeping secrets about my grade school crush. Back to when the only disappointment was finding beans inside a Nestle cookie dough container. Where had life gone?

It was impossible to pinpoint the feeling into a single emotion. I wanted the sensation of innocence and childhood. I thought about the people who couldn’t come along with me in my life journey. I thought about my Twilight posters, and favorite butterfly blanket. The sun had set to a dim in the horizon, and I just had to be vulnerable at that moment. I had to be brave enough to show, that perhaps I was an adult or maybe not, but I needed to let my walls down for a moment.

I had to dial the 7 digit number and tell my mother just how much pain heartbreak had caused. In other words, “mom, my heart hurts, how do I make this hurt stop”. I don’t think time was a solution, but rather acknowledging that I had to be weak to be strong. I had to be humble if I wanted to be great. I had to cut the “it’s a Capricorn thing” bullshit and real talk myself.

No one likes to bow their head when you can radiate strength. I could say that was an existential crisis perhaps, while two pairs of glowy eyes watched me give an Oscar-worthy performance of “Rocio’s grief-stricken episode”, but to be honest I think it snapped me out of the narcissistic need to have everything together. The watch maybe broke down because I have been wearing it since I was 9. Maybe, who knows. But it caused a triggering effect where I had to accept humans are but humans.

That if I was to be strong for other people I had to accept that being strong implied being fragile. That if I wanted to bring laughter into people’s lives I had to cry too. I don’t know if fixing the watch will be in the plans anytime soon, perhaps it’s a valuable reminder to stop. To “7:07” myself every once in a while.

On May 18, I sat there for the last time, having breakfast with my friend, the fat raccoon who apparently liked Wheat Thins or maybe it just took advantage of my peace and love moments. It was then, I realized raccoons had an impressive ability to steal food.

I truly cannot really say what it was that struck me. The watch stopped, I watched the dramatic horizon, I cried, I felt weak, but I left the mountain ready to grow while remaining rooted.

Cover Image Credit: Rocio Flores

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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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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