The Sleep of the Just

The Sleep of the Just

The difference between good tired and bad tired.
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As a child, I grew up listening to my father’s old time musical taste. This taste was a vast array of anything and everything between Jay and the Americans, to Neil Diamond, to Barry Manilow, to the Guess Who. My dad was a child of the sixties and a teen of the seventies, but unlike that of the era, he wasn’t into the Beatles or a “deadhead” like you might expect of someone from these eras. He was old school thus to this day why I assume I am old school in my tastes of music; I grew up like that. However, reflecting on some of my very favorites were those of Gene Pitney and his famous “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” and Harry Chapin’s famous “Corey’s Coming.” I loved the vibes that these storyteller musicians left the listener with. They were always my favorites. Through this music and my love for my father’s music, we formed a bond. To this day when my dad listens to Pandora on his, now considered, “oldies” stations, he quizzes me on artists and songs. I usually get them right. As far as music goes, we are two in the same.

One moment that surely shaped my life and has resonated in my life to this day is a memory of my dad and I in his truck listening to Harry Chapin’s “Greatest Hits” album, one of both of our most beloved tapes.

If you know anything about Harry Chapin you would know that aside from writing a song about 10,000 pounds of bananas being dumped out of a truck in our close to home city of Scranton, he was an advocate for self-love, poverty, hunger issues around the world, and the betterment of the world in general.

Back to one of my favorite childhood memories. The tape was playing and suddenly a track of just Harry Chapin himself speaking in an interview was on. My dad without hesitation broke whatever conversation him and I were having and said “Wait. You need to listen to this. It is important.” So, that’s exactly what I did. I listened. The track I later came to find out was named “My Grandfather.” You could see concern in my father’s eyes as we listened to this lesson Harry Chapin wanted his listeners to know. My father believed just as strongly in these words as Chapin himself did. Chapin’s lesson went as follows:

"My grandfather was a painter. He died at age eighty-eight, he illustrated Robert Frost's first two books of poetry and he was looking at me and he said, 'Harry, there are two kinds of tired: there's good-tired, and there's bad-tired.' He said, 'Ironically enough, bad-tired can be a day that you won. But you won other people's battles, you lived other people's days, other people’s agendas, other people's dreams and when it was all over there was very little "you" in there, and when you hit the hay at night, somehow you toss and turn--you don't settle easy.' He said, 'Good-tired, ironically enough, can be a day that you lost. But you don't have to tell yourself, 'cause you knew you fought your battles, you chased your dreams, you lived your days, and when you hit the hay at night, you settle easy--you sleep the sleep of the just, and you can say "take me away."' He said, 'Harry, all my life I've painted. God, I would've loved to be more successful, but I painted and I painted, and I am good-tired and they can take me away.'

Now, if there is a process in your and my lives in the insecurity that we have about a prior life or an afterlife and God--I hope there is a God. If He is-- if He does exist He's got a rather weird sense of humor, however. But let's just-- But if there's a process that will allow us to live our days and will allow us that degree of equanimity towards the end, looking at that black, implaccable wall of death, to allow us that degree of peace, that degree of non-fear, I want in."

Wow. After listening to that tape, I was silent. Still, I have the tapes in my car and every so often I skip to that track to listen to it. Every time, I find myself covered and encompassed with chills. There is not much to be said even for this article once you read that passage. It is moving for all individuals involved. But that’s why I knew that I had to share this with my friends, family, and acquaintances. It is an important lesson to say the least.

Although I am a young adult, I would consider myself far or wise beyond my years with still many lessons to learn on my own. In fact, I think a lot of other teens, young adults, and even adults feel this same sensation.

I know I use a lot of “I, I, I,” in my writings but I feel like it is the only way I know how to connect what I am feeling to the reader I hope to move as well. However, I do consider myself a very detail oriented person, constantly watching for signs, different movements, people’s opinions, and even their mannerisms. It is just who I am. With this, I notice the scary things, too. I notice our fast-paced world running our lives and displacing us from the intricate details that I think are important too. What have we allowed ourselves to succumb to?

In today’s world, a college education, trade school training, and a career is basically necessary to “make it.” I am enrolled as a full-time student who studies Speech-Language Pathology. It is not an easy major and I admit that despite my stellar detail oriented mind, I do find myself in hindsight regretting losing touch with that part of me. Like I said, I lose touch, too. I forget to notice the things in life that matter and just like Chapin said in his above passage, despite my best efforts, sometimes I too fight other people’s battles, and even get too involved or concerned in other people's agendas. In hindsight I have a spine that reaks regret and a heart that longs for me to change the next day away from the mistake I made prior.

I would consider Twitter to be one of my favorite social media networks and a lot of the time I find myself tweeting my curiosity (in what I think is a mystery) of why there is not more kindness, love, and compassion in this world. It breaks my heart in a way. It does not sit well with me and it certainly cultivates a feeling of numb uncomfort in my soul. I grew up being told to spread kindness, acceptance, love. And although our world seems to be the opposite of those values, I think a lot of us grew up with the same values. However, I think they got lost in the mix somewhere. I think our fast paced, expensive taste oriented culture forced us out of morals that all of us are born with.

We have a tendency in our own country to fight other people’s battles. It is fun I can’t deny it. Helping others is fun and so is getting the credit for it. We fight and argue on Facebook about politics, we belittle others for not following our chosen religion, and we pass judgement sometimes without even knowing it. This is a system our culture has created and we have allowed it to control us.

When we fight our own battles, not only is it harder, but rarely do we get any credit for it. And believe me, I like to receive credit, too. However, like Chapin expressed through his grandfather’s advice, when we fight our own battles, chase our own dreams, live our life for us, that is when we get the “sleep of the just.” I agree. Like I said, fighting our own battles is not easy. Whether we do not want to face the battles we are up against, or we just do not think we have the tools to defeat it, we are only denying ourselves of a life full of rest, pride, and self fulfilment. That is a big price to pay in the grand scheme of things.

When we forget to fight for ourselves and forget to put in as much effort to our own well-beings as we do for others, that is when we fail, that is when we don’t sleep well. Ultimately, it is wasteful of our time and like my father always has said, “No matter how rich you are, you can’t go to Walmart and ask for the aisle for the years and time you had lost to buy back.” It’s deep, but it’s true. That statement is scary when you sit and ponder it, but it’s the reality of life. That is what happens when we choose fighting other people’s battles over our own. Not only are we spinning our wheels, but we are wasting our time.

Despite any preconceived notions, I don’t mean to give up on the one’s you love. You should be side by side them. That SHOULD be part of your agenda. I will always believe in love and I will always believe that family doesn't have to be blood. For example, I always strive to leave people better than when I met them; that is on my agenda daily. So, if helping my friend or family at one of their darkest hours and helping her to fight the fear and friction she has to face, then you bet I'm in. But, I'm in because of love. I'm in because it's on my agenda. Love is a major tool I use everyday on my agenda. We shouldn’t abandon them. My friends are some of the most influential people in my life. Believe me when I say that I help them fight their battles but believe me even more when I stress that they help me fight and chase mine. This is fair and it is necessary for all of us to get by. We all need someone, we all need a person.

These battles have included but of course are not limited to, lonely nights, tough breakups, stress in families, pets, school, and even money problems. It’s normal. That’s what family and friends are for. Your people pick you up when you feel like you are failing the fight against your battle. But, the battles we lose time on, are those that we contribute to without any intention of ever giving ourselves time or the ones that are beyond our control and are an excuse to abandon whatever we may be struggling with. So yeah, if you like winning battles that don’t contribute to the excel of yourself and you’re okay with sleeping a stolen sleep, then keep it up. But personally, I think it is healthier for ourselves and the people around us to fight our own, with our support system close of course.

I have never been a person to take what is not mine and I am certainly not a person who feels comfortable taking handouts. I know plenty of people who are, and that is their business, but it is not in my personality to be comfortable with that kind of behavior. I am not comfortable sleeping in my bed at night knowing the next morning, no matter how good the sleep I had was, that I must face myself and know that I did not use the day before to fight for something well worth of my betterment, passion, and happiness.

Our world and our country especially have an epidemic of mental health issues which go untreated, unaccepted, and stigmatized. It’s wrong, but it happens; that is the reality. Battles are fought daily by people to just pull themselves out of bed. Again, that’s reality. I feel that by preaching and by living our lives through support of others and fighting for a cause that is close to our hearts, could lead us to end this stigma and to create a society of more accepting and open-minded people. That is a step in the right direction if you ask me. Fighting a battle and a passion that all of us are affected by is a battle worth fighting and coming together over.

Sleep is such an essential piece to our role as functioning human beings. Believe me, I’m the type of person who requires a nap to get through the day. So why, why, why, are we choosing an unjust sleep over a just one? Like I said, yeah, it feels great to “win” battles regardless of who they were fought for, but by disregarding ourselves, we lose ourselves in the process. We contribute once again to a societial cycle which praises material items, judgement, and greed. When we find touch with ourselves, we find ourselves and find that deep down, we all want the same thing. Yeah, that's right. Everyone across the world wants the same thing when it comes down to it. Take religion, politics, sexuality, opinions all out of the mix and we all want the same thing: for everyone to be kind to us. And, like I said before, deep down regardless of what you consider yourself, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, religious, non-religious, we all have an innate sense of care and kindness for others. The rest of what we do is all taught. Use the examples of babies. Babies don’t carry opinions, they don’t even have the capacity to nurture hate. They just seek attention from those who are kind to them. If anything, this only proves my point that we as a human species seek to find ultimate happiness with ourselves. We are lovers until we are taught differently. It is our society who pushes us to value money, lust, and even materials over the deepest connection we all have.

Ultimately, it’s all up to us. You can easily say that you fight your own battles, but you’re the one who knows the truth. I have found myself caught up fighting other people’s battles. The truth? It only leaves me devastated and without adequate care for myself. Yeah, it feels great to be recognized, but it feels even better to be comfortable and happy with yourself fighting for a cause that is so worth it. I am so young and so are so many of the readers who will read this. This life is too short to give in to a scam that seems appealing but leaves us empty. At the end of the day, no matter how many battles you won or how many you lost, you can always hit the restart button. Time does not decide when a new day or a new era starts, you do.

All of us can start loving ourselves more and caring for ourselves more. It is important, but more so, it is crucial. Perhaps this simple yet empowering idea could help us all move forward towards a world more revolved around self-love, love for others, and understanding. When we love and fight for ourselves, we reflect that onto others. Wouldn’t that be a majestic world and culture? I guess it would be, and I guess Harry Chapin thought so, too.

Go and get some just sleep, win or lose, you deserve it.



http://blog.metricula.com/2009/02/harry-chapin-on-...

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=harry+chapin&safe=active&as_st=y&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=lnt&tbs=isz:ex,iszw:1600,iszh:1600#imgrc=Uhy6AcQ1quKHyM:

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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My Experience Getting The Nexplanon Implant

Why I got this form of birth control and what you need to know if you are considering it.

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There are many different reasons for a woman to be on birth control; whether it is to prevent pregnancy, regulate periods or clear acne, each woman uses birth control for different outcomes. Although there are many opinions surrounding birth control, it is an important subject for women to be educated on in order for them to individually make the best decision for their health and lifestyle.

There are many different forms of birth control, both hormonal and non-hormonal, including the everyday oral pills, the IUD, the patch, the implant, the ring and many more. The most common hormonal contraceptives include the hormones estrogen and progestin, or a combination of both, and each hormonal combination can affect every woman in a different way, so as a disclaimer, my birth control experience will most likely differ from every other woman's.

I have been through a rollercoaster of side effects, emotions, and changeS for more than two years due to being on and off of birth control pills. Finding the right combination that reaped the side effects I could handle was difficult. I was on an estrogen-only pill for most of my freshman year of college which cleared my face, did not effect my weight and had good physical benefits for my anemia. Although I couldn't complain about the physical side effects, I decided to stop using this form of birth control due to the anxiety it caused.

Many women struggle with a change in mentality because of birth control hormones and although it can be manageable, there are so many other options and combination of hormones that can allow for a happier mental state. After months of research and conversations with my gynecologist, I decided to go on Nexplanon, which is a small hormonal implant that lasts up to three years.

The main reasons I chose the Nexplanon implant were how it would affect my anemia and mental state, as well as the reliability of not having to worry about taking a pill the same time every day. This decision was not made lightly because Nexplanon is not a form of birth control that I can stop taking or remove easily since it is surgically placed beneath the skin. Nexplanon contains the etonogestrel hormone which, because of its location, releases a low dose into the bloodstream over the course of three years.

The side effects concerning menstrual cycles vary from no bleeding at all to light spotting and even to heavy bleeding. Every woman who receives the implant has a different chemical balance in her body, therefore a doctor cannot accurately predict the patterns and side effects that will occur within a recipient of Nexplanon.

The insertion procedure involved my doctor marking the area where the implant would be placed, sterilizing the location, numbing the area with an injection and inserting the implant with its corresponding applicator. The only painful part of the procedure was the numbing injection, which could be compared to a bee sting lasting five seconds and after that, there was no feeling in my arm. The implant was placed in my non-dominant arm due to the bruising and pain that would be experienced during the healing process. The day of the insertion, I experienced the most pain due to the discomfort of the bruising and sensitivity of the area, but every day after that, my arm recuperated very quickly.

Overall, I made the right decision for my mind and body by choosing to get the Nexplanon implant. If you are experiencing any mental or physical side effects that you do not favor, talk to your gynecologist in order to discuss changing your birth control method, or if you are considering starting birth control for the first time, do your research and make sure you make the right decision for you.

Every woman will experience different side effects on the same forms of birth control, so make sure to never judge a method on reviews because your body could react differently. Birth control is not a subject to shy away from due to the benefits it yields on young women, especially in college, and starting or switching birth controls for the safety and happiness of your lifestyle is always an option to consider.

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