On Confidence & The Temporariness of Everything: Inspiration & Advice from Stephen King, Walt Whitman & Myself
“I am large, I contain multitudes.”
~ Walt Whitman
I am taking a class at ASU at the moment (online). ENG 394 Topic: The Art of Popular Literature - Stephen King. As a result, I have to read numerous books written by Mr. Stephen King, including Different Seasons, which contains three stories. One of those stories, The Body: Fall from Innocence is a coming-of-age story about a group of twelve and thirteen year old boys in the summer of 1960 who know where a dead body is and are on a journey to see it.
In the following section, a 13-year old boy named Gordie is speaking to his friend, Chris. Chris has told Gordie that he is a genuinely good story writer and that because he is such a good student Gordie will most likely be in classes different than himself when school begins. Gordie says he won't go to those classes so that they can remain close. Chris tells him that he must and that if Chris were Gordie's father (who doesn't seem to care about Gordie), he would remind Gordie of his special gift (writing) and that he would nurture that gift by telling Gordie to embrace those classes that have more intelligent students, like himself.
‘I wish to fuck I was your father!’ he said angrily. ‘You wouldn’t go around talking about taking those stupid shop courses if I was! It’s like God gave you something, all those stories you can make up, and He said, This is what we got for you, kid. Try not to lose it. But kids lose everything unless somebody looks out for them and if your folks are too fucked up to do it then maybe I ought to.’
It has made me think. Did I ever lose something, such as a talent or interest when I was young? What did I lose? Can I picture it, place it... Was it story writing? How did I lose it? What caused it? Did I notice it missing? How did I feel?
Reader, has that happened to you?
Perhaps I will answer those questions someday, too. Even, maybe here. But first I would like to say something to my Isabella regarding this...
On Confidence & Being Stardust
July 25, 2019 - 11:52
Primrose Hill, UK
My sweet girl,
I hope I never, ever make you lose interest in something that you are passionate about. I hope that while you and I walk this Earth together, you only ever feel supported by me. I hope that I am observant enough to notice when you have been gifted with a talent or an interest that you adore... and that I cherish it with you, helping you become more and more confident in your endeavors. Helping you discover more about your current interests and hobbies.
Perhaps the lack of the above is how we lose things such as an interest? Perhaps, we lose them when we lose our confidence and when we lose the support of those closest to us? You must never lose your confidence though and here is why:
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
1. You are stardust, as am I, and as are all the people around you... they just may not know it, yet.
2. As stardust, you are temporary, as am I, as are all the people around you... they just sometimes forget it.
3. Therefore, you must embrace this moment, this space, the present moment... for what it is... a fleeting thing.
4. And how do you wish to feel in this moment? Hopefully you wish to feel confident. Happy. Grateful. Present. Why not, my little goose? There is no time to feel less than those things. There is no time worth comparing yourself to others, to worry about how other people may view you. Allow them to be them, without judgment. And you, my love, be you. Be love. Be love, my love.
Emerson’s ideal of friendship was: “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.” I hope that you surround yourself with people with whom you can be yourself and I hope that you always consider me your friend, too. ❤
Now... let's talk further about number two for a moment. About the Temporariness of Everything.
The Temporariness of Everything
Someday I am not going to be here anymore. I will die, which means I will simply cease to be. We won't get to hold hands ever again. Or hug. Or look each other in the eye. I will no longer exist, except in your memory or in a photo or video. And all you are going to have are memories of moments that we shared, but even those will fade, with time. And that's okay! You mustn't be upset when your memories and thoughts of me start to fade, which they will because just like everything else in this world, memories too are temporary. It is also okay to miss me, my love, but you must also let me go. The memories are the past, and one should not dwell there for too long because all that really matters is the present. Let me explain...
This present moment is yours, all yours, to be cherished and fully experienced. I hope you live in the present as much as possible, but appreciate and feel gratitude for the past, for everything. You have so little time on this Earth, as do/did I, as do/did the other people on this planet. So... Be grateful and be happy and take care of yourself Isa. Take a deep breath and feel it fill up your amazing lungs! Close your eyes and feel your wonderous heartbeat in your chest. And don't be sad or afraid, baby girl. Be hopeful. Be grateful. Be in awe of the experience of life that you have been blessed with, including its ups and its downs, equally. And be love, my sweet, sweet Isa. Be love.... I love you. Always have. Always will.
~ Your Mama
Walt Whitman's Thoughts on Being Yourself
In Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1892) wrote in his preface a piece of timeless advice on living a vibrant and rewarding life. He said,
"Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul."
What do you think he meant? I think he meant that if the path laid out before you by others does not feel true to your soul, then you mustn't be afraid to walk a different path, to consider a new ideology or outlook on things. In fact, he later said something just like that with:
“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.”
Whitman continued to proclaim in Leaves of Grass:
"I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood."
Perhaps he means exactly what I have just shared? Perhaps he understood how important it was to simply shine, as they say... to be oneself and no more.
Later in life, he would reflect:
The quality of BEING, in the object’s self, according to its own central idea and purpose, and of growing therefrom and thereto — not criticism by other standards, and adjustments thereto — is the lesson of Nature.
Let's bask now in Walt Whitman's wisdom, shall we?
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