Tag Archives: stories

We can fix society, one story at a time

The screen is cracked. The screen of my cell phone, which I’m currently using to create this post, that is. Like a hideous spider web, it obscures my vision. Already used to the broken fragment, I swiped on.

With cell phones being so fragile, I’ve seen many a person walk 🚶 around with the same kind of blemish. Odd how quickly we adapt. We accept as normal. And I’m not just talking about the inconsequential cracked cellphone screen. Obvious. Maybe not.
After all, if everyone is doing it – then it is perfectly acceptable. I’m not just talking about drugs here. So if everyone comes to work late, it becomes perfectly acceptable to be late, each and every morning. Before your boss has whipped out his eyes, the company culture has changed.

child blowing bubble earth

What’s the big-y about culture?

Culture is something which governs our actions. What we find acceptable. What shocks us. How we react to things. This is why buzzwords such as ‘rape-culture’ are so big in our online discussions. What’s more, culture is formed by the collective experiences. I.e. What we believe, how we react to life is filtered by our past experiences. 

Did you know that storytelling creates experiences? Yes, and not just from a writer’s perspective. It only takes two different stories with a similar outcome to convince someone to rethink how they react towards that type of outcome. Two similar tales spun, and someone has gained a different experience. This in turn will not only determine his own perception, but changes the way others in the community think and act.

Think about that, for two tics.

Your stories, whether written or spoken can influence how someone else perceives the world. I’d like to hope all of us aren’t that impressionable. While stories may be used for the force of good, often they are used for the dark side.  How quickly your mind can change really depends on our point of reference. Your upbringing and your experiences.

Let’s say you are a woman. You hear from a friend about a guy whom you have never met, let’s call him Joe. Joe charmed your friend out of her socks, but got bored pretty quickly.
A few weeks later, another friend tells you she went on a date with Joe, but after a great night he never returned her calls. A random night out, you meet this Joe. Would you not approach Joe with caution? Perhaps avoid Joe altogether? What about if you met someone completely different who reminds you of Joe?
You get where I’m going here. Your friends shared experience, has become somewhat your own.

See how easy stories influence us?

If one guy gets away with a certain conduct, the next one will try a similar thing. Soon it becomes common.
Like my cracked cellphone screen, as a society we all too conveniently find some things acceptable.
I really don’t want to go into all the heartbreaking things this world has found acceptable. As mentioned, it’s sometimes the little things, such as coming to work late which rob us.

Sometimes, it takes some real strong-willed determination, not to do what everyone else finds perfectly acceptable.

The impact these stories of such strong-willed determination have on our society is sometimes the only thing that stands between us and degradation, impoverishment of the human condition.

Why? Because these uplifting stories give us a new point of reference.

While I’ve been terribly philosophical with this post, which certainly would have benefited in me being more specific, I hope it has at least given you some food for thought. Now, go forth and shine.

This post has been the tenth day of it does not need to be perfect a series I’m currently writing on this blog.

*child blowing bubble picture courtesy of pixabay.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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I was a bully!

No, I did not mistype that heading.
The topic of bullies is an ongoing concern in today’s society.

One of my friend’s social media threads recently read as such:

“This is the reason why teenagers commit suicide.”

While there would always be other factors, such as mental health concerns, being bullied is certainly a contributing factor to teenage suicide.

It is freighting horrible how children treat other children. I’d like to add ‘these days’, to that sentence, but I can’t. Minors have bullied and been horrible to other minors for centuries. Knowing someone who recently tried to end it, partly because of being bullied has me paying attention to this behavior.

Quite frankly, it’s not just children. Adults can be mean and horrible too. We usually go about it differently. We don’t call it being bullied. We call it being targeted. Nepotism. Favoritism. Slander. Internet trolling. You get the picture.

It’s a cruel, hard, world. At some point, we need to learn to navigate the shark infested waters we share with both sharks and starfish. Navigation lessons, start very early in life. You can choose to be a shark.

shark infested waters blue

Early on, other children mistreated me. They’d tell me I can’t play with them. They’d say I’m too weird. Seven-year-old I was left to play alone, while the other kids laughed at me. While here it was uncommon for children to form gangs and beat other children up, words can do much damage.

This behavior went on all through until my seventh school year, when we had to go to the next level. My brother convinced me that if I would ever like to fall into the ‘in’ crowd, I should stop being friends with one of the two friends I did have. For the sake of narrative, let’s call her Angela. It all seems like childish nonsense now.

You may ask, why in the eyes of my older sibling was I to unfriend her?

She was a nerd. A bookworm. Even weirder than myself. I’d like to tell you that I told my brother he was an idiot. However, I heeded his counsel. After all in my eyes, he had friends, was cool, and was a rock star. And, he was already attending this new school and knew how to be cool there.

I’d like to tell you, it was the last time I was unkind all in the name of, fitting in.

At first, my plan worked. There were some kids from other schools there too. I’d made friends with one of them.  Let’s call her Betty. Betty was pretty. Betty was cool. Betty soon found herself in a situation with a younger girl, let’s call her Camila who transferred there from out of the country. Betty could not stand Camila, who followed her around everywhere.  A plan was hatched and I was to break the poor girl’s, heart.

Why I had to get involved in this situation at all .?!  Well, I guess some things you learn only from making mistakes.

Camila ended up crying.

“Why are you always so mean to each other,” one of my teachers asked. I felt terrible, but by the time I realized the effect of my actions, it was too late.

Camila ended up flunking the year and was put in a class with children her own age. This once sweet and bubbly girl started dressing and acting like a slut. All in the name of fitting in. I later heard she had become mean and cruel. While you can’t blame yourself for other people’s actions, much of me thought that this was my fault.

If this was the price of having friends, I’d rather have none. A sequence of other events eventually leads to that outcome. By that time I no longer cared. 17-year old I, was pretty happy to sit out the school break on my own.

Now you may ask, why at this point I did not decide to befriend Angela again. Several years had passed and Angela had always remained nice, to me. However, I would have felt like a hypocrite.

I’d like to say my actions had no effect on Angela’s life. 17-year-old Angela, however, fell pregnant. The child’s father was a 34-year-old man. Angela had to drop out of school because pregnant girls got expelled. Since all her marks were exemplary, she was allowed to keep all her subjects, dropped to a lower standard and still write her exam. She would not make it into University, however, she would be able to complete her high-school education.

It may seem like a stretch, to say that the horrible manner in which I treated Angela at age 12, would still have an effect on her life today. However, Angela may have made better choices had I been nicer to her. She is such an intelligent person. She could have been a doctor, saving people’s lives – for all I know – had things not turned out the way they did.

It is strange. All these years later, of all the people who were mean to me, I remember very little. I, however, remember very clearly the two people whom I was cruel.

Many of our choices are formed by past experiences. Especially in the formative years, we seek validation from our peers. Even as adults, we seek validation in all the wrong places.
If I could give my thirteen-year-old self some advice I’d tell her to stop trying to impress all these other people. In the end, it matters not how many friends you had, but to how many you were a friend.

What would you tell your thirteen year old self? Did you have an experience being bullied?

p.s. This post has been the eighth day of ‘it does not need to be perfect’, a series I’m currently running on this here blog.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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Time to say goodbye

Say what you say. Do not be afraid. Afraid.

A lullaby to the tune of Andrea Botticelli and Sarah Brightman’s duet: “Time to say goodbye” has been stuck on repeat in my mind. “Say what you say. Do not be afraid. Afraid” is however not part of the lyric. Has my mind suddenly turned into the jester? Or are these kinds of things messages from a “higher realm”?

The classical music ballad consists of entirely Italian lyrics with the English words “Time to say goodbye” thrown in. I don’t understand any of the Italian, so obviously my curiosity was sparked.The English translation of that song is poetic. Profound. Rendering the audience in awe of what they were listening to.

Here is the original in its splendid glory.

The words we use have unknown power. We can use them to encourage or to break down. It is thus we must choose with the greatest care for which purpose we use our words.

How easy is a false rumor spread? Damage done by such a lie can often not be undone. How often can words lead to a climate of fear?

As Yoda said:

yoda-fear-quote

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

 

How often is fear the motivation behind words splattered out into the world? Some throw their muck onto the masses. Use hate to claim clicks and popularity. On the other hand, some will use overly emotional articles to gain their clicks. As writers and speakers of words, we need to think about what motivates us to put what we do out in the world.

Will our words build or burn bridges? Do we create out of a desire to gain ratification, through likes and views?

Now this does not mean we need to bury our personal stories. It is indeed brave to share a part of one’s, journey, however, traumatic it may have been. We must not do this from a place of seeking validation.

We must consider the impact our words have, regardless of them being spoken to someone in real life or written online. This does not mean our opinions do not matter, but rather that they hold more weight if considered carefully.

When it comes to online content, being either on websites, blogs, or social media a good measure is to consider how these words would affect our nearest. Would we want our mother to read it? How would our children be influenced by what we say?

This then leaves the other side of the coin. Sometimes we would swallow our words, even though they hold great importance. We leave things unsaid because we fear rejection. Keep it to yourself. No one cares anyway. It is in these instances that you need to “Say what you Say. Do not be afraid.”

As Marc Chernoff put it:

“To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.”
― Marc Chernoff

Marc-Chernoff-quote-on-brok

None of us are perfect. Some of us don’t know how to use our words perfectly. In our own mind, we are terrible writers. We are terrible storytellers. We believe that our own stories don’t matter because there are just too many other stories out there. Everyone, after all, has a story. What should make me so special?

The underlying truth is, no one can tell your story but you. Would sharing your experience be a benefit to society? Can you do it from a place of compassion? Can you do it from your heart and not your fragile ego?

Remember it needs not be perfect. It needs to be heartfelt. It needs to build bridges. You need not be perfect. You need to be human.

Perhaps we need to say goodbye to words originating from a place of people pleasing. We need to say goodbye to words spoken from a place of hate and fear. When words fail us, let our hearts be open. We must remember for all of us will come a final time to say goodbye. Before we voyage to cross seas which no longer exist, we should leave this shore better off for harboring us.

I close this post with translated lyric from the song “Time to say goodbye” by Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli. Thanks to Jos van Greefen for this translation.

“When I’m alone
I dream of the horizon
and words fail;
yes, I know there is no light
in a room where the sun is absent,
if you are not here with me.
At the windows
show everyone my heart
which you set alight;
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street.

Time to say goodbye.

I’ll go with you to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer;
it’s time to say goodbye. With you I shall experience them.


When you are far away
I dream of the horizon
and words fail,
and, yes, I know
that you are with me;
you, my moon, are here with me,
my sun, you are here with me
with me, with me, with me.

Time to say goodbye.     I’ll go with you
to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,


with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you.

You and me.”

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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