I Am Tainted By My Perspective

I Am Tainted By My Perspective

Have you ever thought about what your self-portrait might look like as a written piece instead of a visual one?
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Recently I've been contemplating what it means to have "perspective" and how that plays a role in the way in which we take in the world around us. Oscar Wilde phrases the contemplation this way: "Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter."

As of last week, I was given this quote as well as the assignment to "project myself—my interiority or state of mind—onto the observed thing."

Woah. I thought to myself "Okay, so I'm writing a self-portrait instead of drawing one? That's a new one." Here is what I found myself with upon completion of the exercise:

What is perspective, if not a mere projection of ourselves and thoughts onto the world we see around us? Perhaps this is why when reading this prompt I read "interiority" as "inferiority." I can see this written self-portrait of myself going in a variety of ways, just as I can see my future going as well. I see a small but mighty girl with roots in Tennessee who has also been mistaken for a European international student. Her Austrian roots "reflect strongly in her manner and demeanor", she was told recently.

I see a girl who sometimes feels limited or defined by her age and often takes offense to slight mentions of being called "kiddo"" or "little bit" while out in public. Perhaps this is because this girl always struggles with "living in the moment" when her mind is racing a million miles a minute to dream about what the future might hold or who she might become. She's not anxious or unhappy in her present state but she always keeps a small string tethered to the kite that is the idea of the looming future and all of its possibilities.

She is often referred to as "confident" or "unstoppable" when it comes to her work ethic but when the moon comes up and the sun goes down, the stars aren't the only thing that becomes illuminated. Her fears, inferiorities and short-comings begin to light up too as her mess of brown, tousled curls fall around her face, making her look as youthful and naive as she will all day.

Perhaps she feels this too. Everyone has some sort of security blanket and for her, it happens to be her grown-out, Austrian-heritage hair that carelessly sprawls about on the fresh, white pillowcase as she clinches her eyes shut after a mentally taxing day of trying to live both in the present and future.

She envies her hair; the most carefree thing about her. It curls and roams and lives as it wishes without any awareness of what it "should" or "shouldn't" be doing.

She then catches herself with the thought that "envy is a green-eyed monster" as countless adults have told her so many years before.

"Think. Correct. Modify. Act. Repeat." This is the cycle she falls into with each action of every day.

As she eventually drifts off to sleep, after running through her nightly, mental list of "what-if's" and "to-dos" she thinks to herself how liberating it is that for the next few hours, her mind can roam and dream without the policing and censoring she often places on herself throughout the day.

She thinks to herself how liberating it is to recognize the power and control that comes with acknowledging the projections that find their way into her daily perspective.

My hope is that my sharing of this exercise urges you to become aware of your own perspective without shouldering the desire to change your perspective. Simple awareness is the goal.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Winter

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.

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As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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What You Need To Know About Being A Good Leader; It Doesn't Happen Over Night

Good things take time.

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I've never been one to go out of my comfort zone and talk to people and order people around - well, not directly ordering people around but being able to be strong and outgoing. Yes, I am friendly, but that only happens when someone approaches me and starts talking to me. But that's the other thing, people don't typically do that with me; I normally have to be the one to go up to them and introduce myself and then that's when they come out of their shell. They don't naturally come out of their shell like I do.

It's who I am and I need to learn to accept the fact that I like to be outgoing and make friends with everyone I meet. Especially because now I just learned that I will be a small business owner and owning a small business means I need to be confident and outgoing in order to attract the right people and climb the spectrum. I have goals that I have set for myself, for this business and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that I am getting to the place I desire. So, if that requires me to make friends with people first, that is what I will do and I will make sure I will give nothing less to get to where I want to get.

When it comes to becoming a leader, my friend and wellness coach told me that I need to create a special bond with the person whom I'm trying to convince to buy my product. And in order to make sure I have the ability to make the bond that I need, I have to be confident in myself to be able to approach a stranger and make connections before I tell them why my products are helpful. Becoming a leader doesn't just happen overnight; it takes time and effort for someone to be able to naturally make genuine connections. For someone like me, it's pretty simple to make that connection when it comes to becoming a friend, but when it comes to a business aspect, it's more uncomfortable for me.

It feels weird trying to become someone's friend and then leaning into asking for money. And I don't want their money, I want to help them reach their fitness and nutrition goals, but that requires them to purchase the protein drink mix and tea to help them better themselves. But I can't seem to get them to give into that for multiple reasons - whether that'd be money or I just don't know how to talk to people or that I don't know who to talk to. It's all just a process and I'm not exactly sure in what way I can influence them to purchase through me just like my coach does with people on the daily.

I know that good things take time and that there needs to be patience when it comes to building a business, but it seems like it's not fair that others who are doing the same work as me are building their business faster than I am.

It all goes back to being able to step outside your comfort zone and talk to people and make sure you have the qualities to attract someone and expand your business. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you become a leader.

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