Writing In The Prison, Week 4: The Things We’ve Lost 

We’ve all lost something or someone. From old childhood toys to former friends, family members to even lost memories, we, as human beings are in a constant state of loss.

We can lament over the things we’ve lost. We can also hold out hope that we can rediscover for what we’ve lost.

This week the writing prompt for the inmates was to write a story about things we’ve lost.

But what happens if you’ve lost everything?

Many of the inmates in the correctional facility know what that’s like.

These people, whether by their own actions or the actions of others, have lost their homes, their freedom, their families.

They’ve lost their faith and their hope that things will get better. They themselves are lost, and they want to find themselves.

We all want to find ourselves. We want to know about who we’re supposed to be in this world, and what we’re going to accomplish. We want to know from the second we’re born what we’re going to have.

But what does it take to do that? Does it mean we need to lose everything to gain perspective on the world? Does dealing with loss = finding ourselves?

Does it mean that you take things  away until you’ve lost everything? Or does it mean that once you hit rock bottom, the only way you can go is up?

And who can experience loss? Is it only those who have something or someone to lose? Or can anyone experience the feelings of loss? I think that a loss isn’t only for the privileged, loss is for everyone. Everyone knows in some way what it’s like to lose something, to lose someone. Some people lose more than others, but that doesn’t mean that the ones who haven’t truly lost anything don’t know what it means.

I think that the things we’ve lost are a part of us and regardless of who or where we are, the feeling of loss is something we can all relate to. And if we have lost everything, the important thing to remember is that the feelings of loss are universal, you’re not alone in your loss.

Please make sure to give other pieces in this series a read, and make sure to share.

Until next time.

 

Writing In The Prison, Week 3: Emotions

A few days ago was the three-week mark of my independent study, Writing In The Prison. This week, something that I noticed while teaching was how important emotions are conveyed through the writing that we do.

It’s not only the inmates writings’ that have emotional depth but ours as well. Every word we write, every story we tell is based on real things that have happened to us. It up to us to show the world what we want to say. What this means is that there can often be deeper emotions behind the words we write.

We’re given prompts to help us along in our stories, but everyone interprets those differently. For example, one of the prompts for this week was “write about an encounter with a bully.”  What I saw in the inmates writing was their real passion; they knew exactly they wanted to tell their story, emotions and all.

It’s because of this passion that I cannot wait to see what is in store for the rest of the class.

Please don’t forget to like and share.

Until next time.

Writing In The Prison, Week 2: Empathy versus Sympathy

Yesterday was the second week of my independent study, Writing In The Prison.

And this week, something that I noticed while teaching was the emotions that were expressed, and how they were reacted to.

Several of the stories this week were deeply personal, and due to their personal nature, it also brought strong emotional reactions as well. Which is completely normal in any situation, but in this particular situation, I wasn’t completely sure how I should react.

This is where empathy versus sympathy comes into play.

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another
Sympathy : feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.
Can we as humans be both empathetic and sympathetic? Or can we only experience one over the other?
In the case of the inmates, it felt as if this class serves as a unique bonding experience for them, as it is allowing them to share their thoughts and feelings with each other. But while the teachers share as well, it feels like there is still a disconnect between us. Because while we are part of the class, we still are part of the “Them”.  Even though we do not hold the same authoritative positions as the guards, we’re still volunteers in the facility. We have the freedom to leave at any time, and we technically do not have to return. We choose to come each week, for different reasons. We do not fit into a proper category because of our freedomswe are not inmates, and we are not workers.
But I know it doesn’t mean that we don’t care. In fact, I would argue in some ways, we are more compassionate, as we only get an hour to learn more about these people, and to learn more about the facility as well. And in turn, the women in the class, and the workers at the facility only get about an hour to learn more about us. Which means the limited time is allowing us to move faster, beyond the bonds of small talk, to really get to what matters.
And I think that is what makes this opportunity so special.
Until next time.

What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed. 

10) Try to relax/take some time to take care of yourself. You won’t be able to get anything done if you’re too stressed.

This means taking a few seconds to stretch your body, read a post from your favorite blogger (wink wink), jam to your favorite song, shower if you need too. Whatever gets you out of your head, and relaxing.

9) Make sure you get some sleep. Being exhausted won’t help you at all.

Even if it means quick power naps, or a full night’s sleep, do what you can t0 make sure you’re in the best possible mindset to work.

8) Make sure you eat. If you’re hungry, nothing will get accomplished.

And don’t try to insist that “you’re too busy to eat.” Take 5 minutes, grab a bar, a fruit/vegetable, anything that can keep you nourished, and enjoy. Trust me, your body (and mind) will thank you.

7) Try to make a to-do list for what you need to accomplish.

Get out a spare notebook, a piece of paper, a whiteboard…anything you can write on and something that you won’t forget to check.

6) Accomplish the little goals, that way you won’t be distracted when you try to work on the bigger ones.

For example, take a minute to send an email or make an appointment (small goal), then work on your huge project.

5) If you need help with a task, ask for it.

Whether it’s friends, family, your work partners, your boss/professor. If you have questions or are confused, ask for help.

4) Try to avoid procrastinating.

Speaking from a lot of experience here, try not to procrastinate. It’ll only make you more stressed and overwhelmed, which isn’t what you want. Trust me.

3) If something doesn’t work out, move on.

Maybe you failed an exam, or forgot an appointment or a meeting that you were supposed to attend. Instead of focusing on what you didn’t do, try to move past it and onto the next task. The past isn’t something you can change.

2) Try to get outside if you can.

Taking a few deeps breaths of fresh air can do great things, even if you only have a minute to spare. Fresh air beats stale inside air any day.

1 ) You’re not going to always be overwhelmed.

Sure, you’re overwhelmed now, but there will come a time where all of the stress and anxiety will go away. So instead of panicking about what you have to do, keep in mind that it won’t always be this way. You can do it, I believe in you.

Writing In The Prison 

Hello readers!

I am writing this post to inform you all that this semester, I will be teaching a creative non-fiction course at a local prison. 

As part of my independent study, I was also asked to write a weekly review of my experiences while teaching, and to share it with all of you. 

Please note that names will be changed in order to protect and give anonymity to the inmates and the staff. 

I am unbelievably excited to take on this opportunity, and I look forward to sharing my weekly experiences with you! 

You can look forward to my first installment later this week. 

Why You Shouldn’t Procrastinate (But You Will Anyway).

Because the more you procrastinate, the less you’ll get done. That’s just a fact. 

This post took me over two months to write, and the only reason that I’m writing it now is because I’m procrastinating on the work I’m actually supposed to be doing. Instead of killing two birds with one stone, I’m killing no birds, with no stones.

When you actually feel motivated to do your work (or whatever you need to focus on), you’ll have nothing to do. Trust me. 

There’s always more work to be done when you don’t want to do it, and then there’s no work to be done when you actually want to get it completed. It’s karma at it’s finest.

If you avoid working on important things (like job applications and blog posts), people will be concerned about you. 

More than once, I have been asked by family and friends if I’m sick or in trouble, solely because I avoided my responsibilities. This is often accompanied by a lame excuse on my part.

Examples:

“I totally meant to write today…it’s just that (insert show here) was finally added/updated on Netflix, and I needed to watch it.”

“I was going to do my homework…but then I thought it would be a good idea to bake cookies instead.”

or my personal favorite (and most used):

“I meant to do (insert task here), but I got distracted by (insert stupid distraction here)”.

In my case, it’s usually pictures of cute animals and/or random YouTube videos.

The more you avoid something, the more it comes back to haunt you later.

Waking up in a panic at 3 AM because you totally forgot to complete an assignment that’s due that day is a real pain in the ass. Especially because you know you’re not going to get it done. You think you will, but trust me, you won’t.

You have a list of excuses that you use everytime you procrastinate. But no one is buying them.

“I was going to but..”

“I’m working on it now…” (You’re watching Netflix in your pajamas eating Nutella out of the jar with a spoon. Don’t kid yourself)

“I was too tired/hungry…” (One of my most popular excuses)

“I went out last night…” (Just because you’re hungover, doesn’t mean you can’t get work done.)

These may sound like great excuses, but your friends/family/etc. have heard them before, and know what you’re up to. So don’t bullshit them, or yourself.

And finally…

Procrastination on important things won’t help you in the long run

Sure, it’s great to kick back and relax, but running around like a crazy person later on is not worth all of the trouble. You’re trying to get 5 months of work done in 5 days, and let me tell you, all of the to-do lists in the world won’t help you now.

Just do what you need to do, and then you’ll actually have the free time later to chill out and not worry about everything you’re supposed to be doing. Simple as that.

Tell me, what are you procrastinating on right now? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll happily procrastinate completing my work to respond back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What To Do When You’ve Been Incredibly Busy

10. Try to find some spare time to write. For some, this may mean hiding out in the back of the library, frantically working with a large cup of hot chocolate by your side. Or is this just me?

9.If possible, take some time off to relax and recollect yourself.

8. Make sure you eat. Sometimes forget to eat when they’re busy, so if possible, pack some snacks.

7. Get enough rest. You won’t be able to accomplish anything if you’re exhausted.

6. Try to stay healthy! Being sick won’t do you any good, so try to keep healthy.

5. Take some time to socialize. If you’re like me, you work best in a quiet space by yourself. But spending time with friends and family can boost your mood, and will help you relax.

4. Prioritize. Accomplish little assignments first, then tackle your biggest projects. 

3. Take it one day at a time. If you’re freaking out about everything that you need to do, you’ll get nothing done. 

2. Motivation. Think about all the times that you’ve been busy or stressed in your past, and remember that you got through those times, so you can definitely handle it this time.

1. If you can, make it fun. Set a challenge for yourself, or use a reward system to finish what you need to complete! Good luck.

As for me, I might need to start listening to my own advice.

xxoo 

What To Do When It’s Monday.

10) Avoid everything and everyone. Mondays are not fun days.

9) Trick yourself into thinking it’s another day of the week (like Wednesday or Thursday)

8) Realize that despite trying to trick yourself, it’s still Monday.

7) Consume a large amount of caffeine. Your choice. ( Although I recommend hot chocolate)

6) If possible, take a nap. This will help you get over your Monday blues.

5) If taking a nap is not possible, you may end up falling asleep in a random place. Make sure to watch out for that. 

4) Eat energy boosting foods, because Monday has a way of depleting any energy you have. 

3) Distract yourself from the harsh reality that is Monday by wearing your favorite clothes, or jamming out to your favorite music

2) If possible, eat your favorite foods to kickstart your week. 

1) Sadly accept that it’s Monday, and go through the grieving process that occurs each week when Monday rolls around.

What To Do When You’re Supposed To Be Working

1. Write this post. Seems simple enough.

2. Make coffee/tea/your hot beverage of choice. Nothing says procrastinating like downing a large amount of caffeine.

3. Clean your living area. This is particularly good for avoiding work if you’re a messy individual.

4. Watch Netflix/Hulu/random YouTube videos/TV programs. It’s like eating Pringles, you can’t only eat/watch one episode.

5. Look at the assignment(s) that you’re supposed to be completing. That way, you can at least say that you’ve looked at what you should be doing.

6. Make plans for the week ahead.

7. Cook/bake. This is definitely a time- waster, especially if you’re not the best of chefs.

8. Text anyone and everyone you know. Hopefully someone else is avoiding their own work.

9. Exercise/Take a Shower. Both are good for you, and extremely effective time-killers.

10. Wake up the next morning and scramble to complete your work on time. Bonus points if you’re late to class/job because you were printing your work.

Out of the Loop

Happy Tuesday!

Sorry I haven’t posted in the past week, I was sick.

Do you ever feel like you’re out of the loop? Like everyone around you has an agenda, and you’re stuck sitting at your desk? That everyone is filled in, that they know something that you don’t know?

It can be really frustrating, because sometimes, the more you try to get “in the loop”, the more out of touch you are with the current happenings and situations. It’s like when someone tells a joke, but you don’t understand the punchline.

What do you do to keep yourself informed and updated on what’s going on? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Have a great day!
xxoo